UPDATED: 3:02 p.m.
The bronze statue, standing 9 feet tall and weighing about 2,000 pounds, had stood at the site for 21 years.
Some think back fondly to Rizzo’s era as one of law and order. However, on Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney ordered the statue's immediate removal, calling it "a deplorable monument to racism, bigotry, and police brutality for members of the black community, the LGBTQ community, and many others," according to a statement from the city.
"In the course of the last week it was clear that we needed to show a symbolic effort to tell people we’re moving on and we’re gonna do better," he said.
Kenney said he hopes this is the beginning of a healing process for the city — and not just for those who have been protesting in recent days.
"I know some people think of him as a hero and the like, but there’s a large number of people in the city who lived in that time who go in (the Municipal Services Building) and pay their taxes and to get permits ... and to go in there under his gaze was offensive to them."
The statue has been a lightning rod for anti-racism demonstrators in recent years and a frequent site of vandalism. Activists have spray-painted it, dressed it in a knitted pink bra and matching panties, and everything else in between.
On Saturday, the first day of protests in Philadelphia in response to the death of George Floyd, demonstrators set the base of the statue on fire and even tried to rip it out of the ground themselves. The next day, as protests and riots continued in the city, Kenney said he would expedite that process and move the statue in a month. Now the statue is gone.
Mural Arts said it “decided to cease all involvement with the mural, effective immediately.”