PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney today announced that crews have removed the statue of the late Mayor Frank L. Rizzo from the front of the Municipal Services Building.
“When we first announced our decision to move the statue, we chose to do so in a way that was cost-effective, by linking it to the pending renovation of Thomas Paine Plaza,” said the Mayor. “That choice was a mistake—we prioritized efficiency over full recognition of what this statue represented to Black Philadelphians and members of other marginalized communities. 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.”
The Mayor on Tuesday, June 2, signed an Order directing the Managing Director to remove the statue immediately. Work began overnight and concluded this morning.
The Mayor continued, “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.”
The statue, 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. No timeline for developing the plan has been established. If and when it is developed, the plan will be presented to the Philadelphia Art Commission for approval.
Copies of the Mayor’s Order are available here.