Mayor: No decision yet on Rizzo statue's future

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The Frank Rizzo statue is back in the spotlight.

A peaceful, but passionate crowd gathered Monday evening with hopes they'd convince city leaders to remove the controversial statue.

"Symbols like the Rizzo statue are a symbol of violence, oppression, racism, and needs to come down," Christian Lovehall of South Philadelphia said.

Rizzo, once a top cop turned Philadelphia's mayor, is often associated for having a strained relationship with the African American and gay communities.

Former state senator and grass roots activist Milton Street says the statue should stay.

"Frank Rizzo, and I knew him personally, was not a racist. Rizzo was a law and order officer, had nothing to do with racism," Street said.

Mayor Jim Kenney says no decision has been made on whether to remove it, keep it, or relocate it.

Kenney did confirm he agreed to a meeting with those who want the statue to stay.

"The reason I agreed to do it was because they agreed to call off a rally that could have potentially been a dangerous situation for lots of people," Kenney said.

RELATED: Frank Rizzo mural defaced with paint in South Philadelphia
EMBED More News Videos

Frank Rizzo mural defaced with paint in South Philadelphia. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 19, 2017.

Kenney says by not having the two groups rally at the same time, police have a better chance of doing their jobs.

"I got to hand it to our police department, they're in the middle of these things all the time and they have to keep the peace and they have to keep people separated," Kenney said.

EMBED More News Videos

Rizzo statue controversy continues. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on August 21, 2017.

Mayor Kenney did say a decision on the statue is going to come soon.

According to Kenney, the longer there isn't one makes the greater chance there is for violence breaking out.

"I don't want to see people angry and hurt, physically hurt potentially, over a piece of metal," Kenney said.

RELATED: Why is the Rizzo statue controversial?
EMBED More News Videos

Karen Friedman reports on Philadelphia leaders reacting to Frank Rizzo's death on July 16, 1991.

The statue has been egged and spray-painted twice in one week since Councilwoman-at-large Helen Gym called for its removal.

She released a statement Monday saying, "There will be a city led public process for moving the Rizzo statue."

Though the statue was surrounded by those who want it gone, hours earlier, Logan resident Dianna Canery spoke to Action News about watching Rizzo rising through the ranks. She wants the statue to stay.

"He's a part of our history, he's a part of the history of Philadelphia." Canery said.

Canery says the city has bigger problems that people should be focused on.
Send a breaking news alert
Report a correction or typo
Learn more about the 6abc apps
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.