Philly: Rizzo Statue Defaced With ‘Black Power’ Message; Suspect in Custody

Chris Palmer and Chris Mondics, Philly.com, August 18, 2017

Police arrested one man early Friday in connection with a spray-painted message intended to deface the statue of former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo outside the Municipal Services Building.

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The statue was defaced late Thursday with the message “Black Power” spray-painted in white, following calls for its removal.

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City workers power-washed the message from the statue early Friday.

The vandalism came during an unguarded moment. On Wednesday morning, the statue was egged and, for much of the time afterward, was guarded by police, including during a “Philly is Charlottesville” demonstration later Wednesday that drew Black Lives Matter activists to the site at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

At 11:06 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to a radio call for “vandalism in progress” in front of the Municipal Services Building. In addition to spray-painting the Rizzo statue, someone had written the words “The Black community should be their own Police” on the steps of the building.

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Video of the defacing of the Rizzo statue was posted on Twitter:

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“The statue is going to come down one way or another,” said Asa Khalif, a member of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Black Lives Matter Movement. “It stands for generational hurt, oppression, injustice, homophobia, anti-blackness.”

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Thursday’s vandalism followed days of calls from civil rights activists and others to have the statue removed.

Councilwoman Helen Gym said on Twitter that the statue should go, and Mayor Kenney, a fellow Democrat, said it was time to discuss its future.

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