In the early hours of June 3, 2020, workers and a crane arrived at the Philadelphia City Hall to remove the 10-foot bronze statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, who was long associated with police brutality.
After the statue of Rizzo was removed, Philadephia Mayor Jim Kenney took to Twitter: “The statue represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long. It is finally gone.”
The statue that was installed in 1999 will be placed in secure storage by the Department of Public Property. The mayor said the statue will remain there “until a plan is developed to donate, relocate, or otherwise dispose of it.”
Newsweek reported that Kenney had been under pressure to remove the statue for years. That pressure intensified as protests over the unlawful death of George Floyd spread across the country.
During demonstrations on Saturday, the statue was defaced and many were offended that the statue was cleaned by the following morning.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mayor Kenney stated that the city “prioritized efficiency over full recognition of what this statue represented to Black Philadelphians and members of other marginalized communities … The statue is a deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality for members of the Black community, the LGBTQ community, and many others. The treatment of these communities under Mr. Rizzo’s leadership was among the worst periods in Philadelphia’s history. The battle for equal rights and justice is still being fought decades later, and our city is still working to erase that legacy.”
Rizzo was the Philadephia mayor from 1972 to 1980 and the police commissioner from 1968 to 1871.
By Jeanette Vietti
Newsweek: Frank Rizzo Statue Taken Down – Philadelphia Mayor Long Associated With Police Brutality
The Hill: Philadelphia removes statue of ex-mayor seen as ‘deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality’
Philadelphia Magazine: Good Riddance: The Frank Rizzo Statue Has Been Removed
Image Courtesy of Stephen M. Scott’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License