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Statue of ex-Philadelphia mayor many saw as racist removed

Philadelphia removes statue of Frank Rizzo
Philadelphia removes statue of controversial former mayor Frank Rizzo 01:46

The Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia's Center City was removed overnight, CBS Philly reports. It was vandalized during protests over George Floyd's death. There were also attempts to tear it down. The statue, which has stood on the steps of the Municipal Services Building for over a decade, was removed around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Crews used a crane to lift the 2,000-pound, 10-foot tall bronze statue and take it away. It happened under the watchful eyes of the National Guard and very few other onlookers.

"It's a moment that many want to see, so I guess I can represent the face of many that want to see him go," one witness said.

The process took about an hour.

Current Mayor Jim Kenney made no bones about his feelings in a tweet:

Kenney's office released a statement saying, "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."

Unveiled in early 1999, the statue was a gift to the city from Rizzo's family and friends but has long been a target of vandalism. The former police commissioner and two-term mayor was a controversial figure in Philadelphia.

The South Philly native is remembered by supporters as a devoted outspoken public servant who championed the city. But Rizzo's critics, many of them people of color, say his approach to policing and governing was corrupt and racist.

The statue was set to be moved next year but just this weekend it was once again vandalized after protests over the officer-involved death of George Floyd turned into chaos.

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