Kenney says he’s listening to all sides on whether Rizzo statue should go

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EOTS Flickr Group)">(Theresa Stigale, EOTS Flickr Group)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he’s listening to all sides on whether the statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo should be moved or removed from its spot on the steps in front of the Municipal Services Building .

“We’re not going to drag it out forever,” he said Monday. “It’s got to get done one way or the other.”

The mayor said he is hearing from all sides on the statue — including those who want it to remain where it has stood for almost 20 years across the street from City Hall.

Protesters say the larger-than-life bronze statue, installed in 1998 seven years after the former police commissioner’s death, is a symbol of discrimination and police brutality when city officials have said they  are committed to changes meant to repair relationship between police officers and many black communities.

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“I’m going to listen, I’m not going to tell them anything, I’m going to listen to what they have to say because they agreed to call off a rally that could have potentially been a dangerous situation for lots of people, citizens and police officers,” Kenney said.

Several City Council members have called for removing the statue and placing it in a museum.  And Kenney said he was not a supporter of the statue at the beginning.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate at the period of time after the mayor’s death that it was done so quickly, he said. “That’s just my personal opinion.”

The mayor would not give a specific timetable for deciding the matter.

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