Suspect ID'd in spray painting of Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- Police have identified the suspect, who now faces charges in the spray painting of the Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia.

They say 40-year-old Wali Rahmen faces charges of criminal mischief, institutional vandalism, and desecrating objects.

Rahmen ran for as a candidate for Philadelphia mayor in 2011.

He's been released after posting bail. Rahmen's next court date is a status hearing slated for September 18th.

Earlier Friday, work crews removed a spray-painted message from the statue honoring the late Frank Rizzo.

The operation took about ten minutes Friday morning.

Yellow caution tape and crowd barriers, which have surrounded the statue since Wednesday, were also removed.

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Rizzo statue vandalized with spray paint. Brian Taff reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 18, 2017.

It was shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday when police responded to a call for vandalism in progress in front of the Municipal Services Building located on the 1400 block of John F. Kennedy Boulevard.

Upon arrival, officers learned that a man spray painted the Frank Rizzo statue with the words "Black Power" in white spray paint as well as "The Black community should be their own police" on the steps below the statue.

The suspect then walked to a parked 2005 Toyota station wagon and drove away.

A suspect, later identified as Wali Rahmen, was taken into custody.

The latest vandalism of the statue happened in the wake of a call for its removal. Critics say the former mayor and police commissioner reigned over the city when police brutality was the accepted norm.

Earlier this week, Councilwoman Helen Gym said on Twitter that the statue should be removed, and Mayor Jim Kenney, a fellow Democrat, said it was time to discuss its future.

On Wednesday a man from Maplewood, New Jersey, was charged with disorderly conduct for throwing eggs at the statue.

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