PHILADELPHIA — An anti-police brutality group wants Philadelphia to remove a statue of Frank Rizzo, the blunt and charismatic officer-turned-mayor who was at once loved and loathed during his decades reigning over the city. The current mayor said he’s open to a discussion on the location of the statue.

An online petition , launched this month by the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice, contends Rizzo was “an unrepentant racist who stopped at nothing to torture and hold Philadelphia’s African-American community as his personal hostages.”

“We want to see a statue that empowers the black and brown community instead of us having to be constantly reminded of racist attacks and our plight here in Philadelphia,” organizer Erica Mines said.

Philadelphia has long tried to reconcile the complicated legacy of Rizzo, who served as mayor from 1972 to 1980 and who died of a heart attack in 1991 amid a City Hall comeback bid. His friends, family and fans remember him as a devoted public servant unafraid to speak his mind. His detractors saw his police force as corrupt and brutal and said Rizzo alienated minorities both as police commissioner and mayor.

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