By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Organizers of the annual memorial to the late Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo have decided to put off today’s ceremony because the Rizzo statue in center city had become the focal point of protests over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in Florida (see related story).
Every year, on the anniversary of his death on July 16th, 1991, supporters of the late Frank Rizzo gather at his statue, on the apron of the Municipal Services Building, across the street from City Hall.
But this year’s memorial has been delayed indefinitely because of the weekend’s protests there over the Zimmerman verdict — protests that included signs hung from the statue.
Organizer Hank Cisco said the Rizzo memorial was put off to avoid any potential confrontation.
“There was a possibility there would be demonstrations, and we didn’t want to give police any more problems,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “We want peace and calm.”
Supporting the decision is Frank Rizzo Jr., the late mayor’s son and a former city councilman.
“We don’t need people screaming back and forth at each other — not that that would happen,” Rizzo Jr. said today. “Probably a good decision. What I wouldn’t want to have happen is anyone who supports my father, or people there for the George Zimmerman case, the Trayvon Martin case, get into any kind of dispute. This is not what this day is intended to be.”
Organizers have not yet set a new date for the memorial.