The statue of former Philadelphia Mayor, policeman and police commissioner Frank Rizzo was taken down on Wednesday.
Philadelphia removed a statue of the former mayor Frank Rizzo, who aggressively policed black and gay people in the ’60s and ’70s, after protesters tried to take it down. Mayor Jim Kenney said it was “the beginning of the healing process of our city.” https://t.co/yLRlXwg7Il pic.twitter.com/GOE6C5duqg
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 3, 2020
The statue of Rizzo, who was infamous for his comments and policies on policing the LGBT and minority communities, was taken down early Wednesday morning after protests had subsided, according to CBS News. (RELATED: Denver Police Officer Fired For ‘Let’s Start A Riot’ Instagram Post)
On Twitter, current Philadelphia mayor Jim Kennedy said “The statue represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long.” The city will put the statue in storage until there is a decision to donate, relocate, or destroy it, reported CBS News.
The Association for Public Art website says the statute was created in 1998 and was paid for by family, friends, and supporters of Rizzo. The statue was erected at the steps of Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building, near the “Government of The People Statue” which Rizzo called “a load of dumped plaster.”
For many in Philadelphia the Frank Rizzo statue is a symbol of oppression and brutality. So much so that many have called for its removal. Yesterday, protestors defaced it and tried to tear it down. It’s telling that it was one of the first things cleaned up this morning. pic.twitter.com/o2qBnYDcNw
— Jordan A. Harris (@RepHarris) May 31, 2020
The statue was frequently vandalized since its creation and calls for its removal have grown in recent years, according to CBS News. Kennedy said on Sunday that the statue would be removed in about a month. That plan was accelerated after crowds protesting the death of George Floyd tried to bring it down themselves and set the entire statue on fire.
Rizzo led brutal crackdowns on African-American protests in the late 1960s, just after the civil rights movement, according to VICE. Under Rizzo’s lead, police brutally beat African-Americans protesting and were told to “beat their black asses.”
During Rizzo’s re-election bid in 1975, Rizzo said “Just wait after November, you’ll have a front row seat because I’m going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot” when asked about his enemies, according to VICE.
“The statue is a deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality for members of the Black community, the LGBTQ community, and many others,” said Kennedy in a statement, “We now need to work for true equity for all Philadelphia residents, and toward healing our communities. The removal of this statue today is but a small step in that process.”