PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The grandson of former mayor Frank Rizzo had stinging words after his grandfather’s mural was removed Sunday amid protests demanding justice for George Floyd. Rizzo’s family says they were blindsided last week when Rizzo’s statue was removed from the Municipal Services Building across the street from City Hall. Having the mural now gone, they say it’s like a double punch to the gut.
“It’s disgraceful,” Joe Mastronardo said. “I guess [Mayor Jim] Kenney right now wants to try to erase my grandfather from Philadelphia history, which is a complete disgrace. What’s going on is sickening.”
The mural of Mastronardo’s grandfather, former Philadelphia mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo, is no more at a time the family says the city needs him more than ever.
“He did a tremendous amount of good for this city. As far as law and order, he kept this city clean,” Mastronardo said.
The mural on South 9th Street in the Italian Market was painted overnight Sunday. The mural was repeatedly the target of vandalism, including last weekend amid citywide protests.
“Yeah, this is a symbolic gesture, but I think it’s indicative of where we’re heading and where we need to head,” Carolyn Carrier, of South Philadelphia, said.
Soon, Mural Arts, which has maintained the mural, will install a new piece of artwork.
In a statement, it said, “Mural Arts is grateful that we were able to work with the owner toward this positive resolution and look forward to collaborating with the community on a new mural project that can reflect the fabric of S. 9th Street. We know that the removal of this mural does not erase painful memories and are deeply apologetic for the amount of grief it has caused. We believe this is a step in the right direction and hope to aid in healing our city through the power of thoughtful and inclusive public art.”
Mural Arts is accepting donations to fund the new mural.
Meanwhile, peaceful protests continued to sweep across the region on Sunday. Black Lives Matter met with Philadelphia elected officials and law enforcement in a two-hour virtual meeting.