A 2,000-pound, 10-foot bronze statue of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo will be removed from outside the Municipal Services Building following protests, Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration says.
“Earlier this year we initiated a call for ideas on the future of the Rizzo statue,” Michael DiBerardinis, managing director for the city of Philadelphia, said in a statement. “We carefully reviewed and considered everyone’s viewpoints and we have come to the decision that the Rizzo statue will be moved to a different location.”
Protesters, who say Rizzo oppressed the black community when he worked as Philadelphia police commissioner in the 1960s, had called for the removal of the statue, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. DiBerardinis didn’t address the protests in his statement, but said the removal is part of preliminary stages of redoing the public space.
“Our goal moving forward is to seamlessly relocate the statue to a new, more appropriate public location in the city,” he said.
Talk of removing the statue began when City Councilwoman Helen Gym tweeted in August, calling for Rizzo’s statue to be removed amid protests in Charlottesville, Va., over Robert E. Lee’s statue, according to the Post-Gazette.
Frank Rizzo Jr., who previously sat on the City Council, told the Post-Gazette that he does not plan to object to the decision, but that people should remember the moment during the the 2019 election.
“I’ve been around politics all my life,” Rizzo told the newspaper. “I don’t think there’s a reason to raise an objection, other than [to note] the supporters of Frank Rizzo remember this on Election Day.”
Rizzo served as mayor from 1972 to 1980. He died in 1991, and the statue was erected in 1999. It is unclear when the statue will be removed or where it will be relocated.