"The General" and “Killer Cop” Defaced on Italian Market Mural
Another day, another controversial Rizzo monument vandalized in Philadelphia. Ralliers, both those in favor and those against the notoriously corrosive and prejudiced former police commissioner and Mayor, were set to protest today. One is set to occur at 4PM today, while the other, comprised of Rizzo's devotees, has been shut down by the City.
Last week, as reported in The Legacy of Rizzo: Does He Deserve to be Commemorated in Bronze?, the polemical significance of Frank Rizzo’s whopping two-thousand pound larger-than-life likeness standing forebodingly in the heart of the City was being questioned by Philadelphia’s council-members and concerned citizens in the form of Twitter threads and protest cries. It seems the whole country has the bronze point of contention screaming from their lips or pounding at their fists, tearing down Confederate statues of mythical proportions (legendary only to White Supremacists and those who hide their right-extremist beliefs under the guise of “Southern Pride” or “preservation of history”). The statue of Rizzo, known fondly by his fellow policemen as “The General”, is equally contentious for Philadelphians who would rather see a statue in front of City Hall that celebrates integral democratic principles, not the visage of the former police commissioner and Mayor who- unabashedly and objectively -did not believe Black or LGBT folks deserved the same amount of safety, tolerance, or respect as his White constituents.
But, if statues are already being thrown to the ground and into the throes of hot debate, why not other forms of public art commemorating the not-so commendable?
“Kill Killer Cops” and a huge oozing white splash of paint were found dripping off of Frank Rizzo’s face on the Mural Arts commissioned wall on the Ninth Street Italian Market, behind Nina’s Trattoria and in front of the Visitor Center. According to recent reports made by Penn Live and CBS Philly, Rizzo was vandalized around 3AM this past Saturday, August 19th. This was done shortly after a post by Jane Golden for Philly.com, executive director of Mural Arts, spread online. According to Jane, Mural Arts Philadelphia will be “embarking” on a “huge public art and history project” in September known as Monument Lab, which will be putting many murals- both existing and potential newcomers- into consideration, including that of Rizzo.
On August 21st 2017, a lone cop car was parked at the front of the mural which, since Saturday night’s graffiti shenanigan, has had “Kill Killer Cops” covered up.
The white blotch splattered on Rizzo’s face, however, remains.
It may only be a matter of time before that whole wall is repainted, bright, blank, and rife with fresh artistic opportunity to recognize another significant contributor to the City. That is, of course, if the public deems it appropriate. For while there are those who oppose everything that Rizzo’s legacy tainted, there are those who want to keep things as they are. Impassioned supporters were supposed to meet this Monday at the statue’s residency on City Hall’s grounds, but the rally, according to sources in City Hall, has been postponed due to “fears” that the march “would grow to be violent”. Conditions set forth to make sure that the potentially disastrous assemblage never came to be includes a meeting between the Rizzo devotees and Mayor Kenney’s Office, purportedly occurring “sometime soon”. Protesters, vehemently anti-Rizzo and following suit with Councilwoman Helen Gym, are still scheduled to call for the removal of the statue at 4PM today.