An annual tribute to a late Philadelphia mayor slated for Tuesday was postponed.
The statue of Frank Rizzo Sr that stands outside the Municipal Services building in Center City was plastered and surrounded with signs Monday. The messages were put there by people upset by the weekend verdict in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case.
In life, the two-term mayor was a flashpoint for racial tensions in the city, and in death he apparently remains one.
The late mayor’s son, Frank Jr., says organizers decided to scrap the memorial service usually held each year on July 16, the anniversary of his father’s sudden death in 1991.
“I think postponing it was prudent because there were a lot of people that probably had an opposite view on the Zimmerman decision and the last thing I wanted to happen was that there would be a confrontation,” Rizzo Jr., a former city councilman, said.
Rizzo Jr says he hopes the protestors did not believe his father, who also served as police commissioner, was overzealous during his life:
“I think he was as aggressive as he needed to be. That’s why Philadelphia was one of the safest cities in America. I think he knew how much force was required to handle a situation.”
A new date for the memorial services has not been set, but Rizzo says it will be within a few weeks.