‘Wants To Remove The Statue Without Any Legal Basis’: Disputed Columbus Statue To Stay In Philadelphia, Judge Rules

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A judge ruled Tuesday that a much-maligned Christopher Columbus statue in Philadelphia can remain in the city, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The statue was the focal point of many protests in the city in the summer of 2020, as groups supporting the statue clashed with groups who wanted it removed, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The city initially made the decision to remove the statue last year due to Columbus’ legacy and because it allegedly attracted violence from various groups, however, legal challenges prevented any action from taking place, according to the Inquirer. The mayor’s office enclosed the statue in plywood boards until the issue was settled in court. (RELATED: Christopher Columbus Statue In Philadelphia To Be Removed Because It Attracts Violence)

The latest ruling overturned a decision last year by the city’s Board of License and Inspection Review that upheld an earlier decision from July 2020 by the Philadelphia Historical Commission to remove the statue, the Inquirer reported.

“It is baffling to this court as to how the City of Philadelphia wants to remove the statue without any legal basis. The city’s entire argument and case is devoid of any legal foundation,” Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick wrote in a seven-page decision, according to the Inquirer.

Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney supported the initial decision to remove the statue in 2020, and was “disappointed” with the latest development in the case, the Inquirer reported. “While we are very disappointed with the ruling, we’re reviewing it now and exploring all potential options — including a possible appeal. The statue remains in Marconi Plaza and will continue to be secured in its existing box,” Kevin Lessard, the spokesperson for the mayor, told the Inquirer in an emailed statement.