PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It happened again. Vandals targeted the Frank Rizzo statue at Paine Plaza in Center City over the weekend. On Monday, the former mayor’s son shared what he believes is the motive behind the repeated vandalism.
Frank Rizzo Jr. had no idea about the latest vandalism to the statue honoring his late father until CBS3 told him Monday afternoon. The statue has since been cleaned up.
Sunday’s vandalism was at least the third time someone defaced it in nearly as many years.
The word “fascist” was written on the statue of former Philadelphia Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo sometime Sunday night.
There was also a sticker on the hand of the statue with the logo of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s nonprofit foundation.
The vandalism is renewing a debate on whether the 2,000-pound, 10-foot statue across the street from City Hall should be moved.
“Put somebody else up,” one woman said.
“He did good work, he should stay,” one man said.
It’s not the first time someone vandalized the statue.
In 2017, the words “black power” were spray-painted on it. That same year, someone threw eggs at it.
“It’s obviously a very contentious statue,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Kenney says the statue will be moved when Paine Plaza outside the Municipal Services Building is redone in a few years. But exactly where the statue will end up is still up in the air.
“People should keep their hands to themselves and not deface any kind of statue of public property,” Kenney said.
But Rizzo’s son, a former Philadelphia councilmember himself, told Eyewitness News over the phone that the statue’s current location is the best place for it.
“That’s where he worked when he first became mayor, that’s where his office was — the Municipal Services Building — because they were making some construction modifications to the permanent mayor’s office. So I think the statue belongs there,” Rizzo Jr. said.
Rizzo Jr. also believes the repeated vandalism is part of a strategy for people to renew calls to take down the statue.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia police are searching for the vandal.