PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monday’s planned rally to keep the former mayor of Philadelphia Frank Rizzo’s statue right where it is has now been postponed.
Officials tell CBS3’s Joe Holden that just before 10 p.m. Sunday night, an agreement has been struck to hold a meeting between the mayor and rally organizers.
Sources inside of City Hall say the city sought to have the rally canceled in fears that the rally would grow to be violent.
The legacy of the abrasive law and order mayor and former police commissioner is under intense scrutiny, and now there are calls to tear down his statue.
The statue has already been vandalized.
Councilwoman Helen Gym last week touched off the movement.
“This is not about history,” said Gym. “This is who the city chooses to honor in the heart of our city.”
But Rizzo loyalists, like his former personal secretary Jody Della Barba, are impassioned to do give their perspective.
“In the row home neighborhoods, blue-collar neighborhoods — he was a champion,” she said.
Della Barba was young when she took on a job with the Rizzo campaign.
About claims he was unfair or a racist, she said, “I think people are jealous of how much he was loved, because no matter what you say, this man was elected twice by big margins.”
All the years later, anti-Rizzo sentiment has popped up in some parts of the city.
On South 9th Street, across from the defaced mural, the visitor center was forced to call police on Sunday.
Video shows a woman taking a pen to a map on the wall. They say what she wrote was vandalism.
“It says black lives matter,” one visitor center employee said.
Police confirmed they’re investigating but say they labeled the writings unintelligible.
“I’m saddened by it,” said the visitor center employee. “The visitor’s center is a place where we welcome everybody.”
Back at the statue, more debate on this late mayor’s legacy that for the moment is seemingly hanging like a cloud over Philadelphia.
“You talk about the bad things that he had done,” said one man. “What about the thousands of good things he done?”