It’s been nearly 26 years since the death of one of Philadelphia’s most polarizing figures, but following the recent race-related violence in Charlottesville, some are calling for the removal (or relocation) of the most visible reminder of Frank Rizzo’s controversial reign as mayor and police commissioner — the 10-foot-tall statue of his likeness that has stood outside the Municipal Services Building in downtown Philadelphia since 1998.
In case you haven’t experienced or even heard of the towering presence of Mayor Rizzo, we collected some footage of past interviews.
His famous phrase: ‘Crumb Bum’
“You’re a crumb-creep-coward,” former Mayor Frank Rizzo said in 1980 as he challenged a KYW investigative reporter to a fist fight.
‘I’m no Hitler’
Frank Rizzo was quoted by The Philadelphia Bulletin as saying: “I’m no Hitler, but I’m a tough cop. And if they want to try me, those black bastards, I’ll prove it.” But in this 1976 interview with Lou Gordon, Rizzo denied ever referring to black people in that manner, after telling the journalist that he resented that the question was even asked.
‘We got the job done’
“When I was mayor, this city worked,” Rizzo declared in this campaign ad for his bid for mayor in 1987. He was narrowly defeated by W. Wilson Goode, Philly first African American mayor.
After his death, the city stood still
When one of Philadelphia’s “most important public figures in the history of the city” was laid to rest, the city stood still. He was a controversial figure even in his own time, but his impact on Philadelphia was never in question.
More recent Rizzo controversy:
- Rendell: Mistake to put Rizzo statue at Municipal Services Building
- What could Philly do with the Frank Rizzo 2,000 pound statue
- Was Frank Rizzo racist or a product of his own time