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Remove the Rizzo statue from public property

Remove the Rizzo statue from public property

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Because he oversaw and maintained police brutality in the black and brown communities in which I grew up, the statue of Frank Rizzo must immediately be removed from the steps of the taxpayer-funded Municipal Services Building.

Not one more cent of my tax dollars maintaining it. Not one more moment of my property housing it. Not one more word from my city excusing it.

The Frank Rizzo statue must be moved to private property, and it must be moved now.

Frank Rizzo was both the symbol and the substance of a racist system upheld by law enforcement. His police force was used to maintain racial boundaries that kept blacks trapped in red-lined communities, locked into a segregated educational system, and mired in second-class citizenship.

We’ve all heard the stories by now. Under Rizzo’s direction, Philadelphia police officers stripped Black Panthers naked in the street, beat black children who were demonstrating for black history classes, and broke nightsticks over a black man’s head for running a stop sign.

Rizzo’s police department engaged in cruelty so pervasive, that by 1979, the U.S. Justice Department had filed a lawsuit against them, saying their unfettered use of brutality “shocks the conscience.”

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Photo: Frank Rizzo statue located on the steps of Philadelphia’s Municipal Services Building. By Stephen M. Scott/ Flickr Creative Commons