Frank Rizzo Statue Taken Down—Philadelphia Mayor Long Associated With Police Brutality

The statue of Frank Rizzo, a former Philadelphia mayor long associated with police brutality, has been taken down.

Workers arrived with a crane to remove the 10 feet tall statue outside the Municipal Services Building near City Hall in the early hours on Wednesday, the The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

A crane lifted the bronze statue and workers shook it from its stand before it was loaded onto the back of a truck and taken away.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney took to Twitter after the statue was removed, writing: "The statue represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long. It is finally gone."

The statue represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long. It is finally gone.

— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) June 3, 2020

The city said on Wednesday that the statue, which was installed in 1999, will be placed in secure storage by the Department of Public Property "until a plan is developed to donate, relocate, or otherwise dispose of it."

Kenney had been facing calls to remove the statue for years, according to The Inquirer.

Those calls intensified as protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody in Minneapolis, spread to more than 100 cities across the country, including Philadelphia.

The statute was defaced during demonstrations in the city on Saturday, but according to the Inquirer, many were offended that it was cleaned first thing the following morning.

Cranes on scene now at the MSB in preparation to take down the statue of Former Mayor Frank Rizzo. @PhillyMayor promised an accelerated removal of the monument after it became a flashpoint for multiple #phillyprotest rallies this week. #philly #protests2020 @CBSPhilly @CBSNews

— manuelsmith (@manuelsmith) June 3, 2020

In a news conference on Sunday, Kenney insisted there was nothing political behind the decision to clean the statute, adding "it got cleaned with everything else that got cleaned."

Kenney also revealed that he had been planning to move the statue in the next month. "I can't wait to see it go away," Kenney said, adding that he had "never liked" it.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Kenney conceded the city had "prioritized efficiency over full recognition of what this statue represented to Black Philadelphians and members of other marginalized communities."

He said the original plan to move the statue as part of a 2021 renovation of Thomas Paine Plaza was "a mistake."

"The continued display of the statue has understandably enraged and hurt many Philadelphians, including those protesting the heinous murders of George Floyd and too many others. I have seen and heard their anguish. This statue now no longer stands in front of a building that serves all Philadelphians."

Protesters begin to gather before of a line of Pennsylvania National Guard outside City Hall on May 31, 2020 in Philadelphia, Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

He added: "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.

"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."

Rizzo served as mayor from 1972 to 1980. He was the police commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department from 1968 to 1971.