Philadelphia ordered to remove box covering Columbus statue

Dec 9, 2022, 12:54 AM | Updated: 2:58 pm
FILE - A city worker measures the statue of Christopher Columbus at Marconi Plaza in Philadelphia, ...

FILE - A city worker measures the statue of Christopher Columbus at Marconi Plaza in Philadelphia, June 16, 2020. A judge ruled Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, that Philadelphia must remove the plywood box it placed over the statue after 2020 protests over racial injustice. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia must remove the plywood box it placed over a statue of Christopher Columbus after 2020 protests over racial injustice, a judge ruled Friday.

In her ruling, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said that if the city disagrees with the “message” the statue sends, it can add its own plaque with what it wants to convey.

“More to the point, the City accepted the donation of the Columbus statue in 1876. It has a fiduciary duty to preserve that statue, which it designated an historic object in 2017. The Columbus statue is not City property as is, for example, a City snowblower,” the judge wrote.

Kevin Lessard, spokesman for Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney, said the ruling disappointed officials but the city will respect the judge’s decision and remove the box as soon as it’s “practically and logistically feasible.”

“We will also continue to explore our options for a way forward that allows Philadelphians to celebrate their heritage and culture while respecting the histories and circumstances of everyone’s different backgrounds,” Lessard said via email.

The statue has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the city and the Friends of Marconi Plaza, where the likeness stands.

It dates to 1876 and was presented to the city by the Italian-American community to commemorate the nation’s centennial, according to the 16-page ruling from the state’s Commonwealth Court.

Supporters say they consider Columbus an emblem of the deep Italian heritage in the city. A message seeking comment on Friday’s ruling from the attorney representing the statue’s supporters was not immediately answered.

Kenney has said Columbus was venerated for centuries as an explorer but had a “much more infamous” history, enslaving Indigenous people and imposing punishments such as severing limbs or even death.

After protests about racial injustice began in June 2020 and some of them focused on the statue, Kenney ordered its removal, calling it a matter of public safety. But last year a judge reversed the city’s decision, however, saying it had failed to provide evidence that the statue’s removal was necessary to protect the public.

The box covering the statue has been painted in green, white and red bands, mirroring the Italian flag, at the request of the city council member who represents the district.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
14 hours ago
FILE - This July 12, 2021 image shows a large bowl of roasted green chile at a market in Hatch, N.M...
Associated Press

New Mexico considers roasted chile as official state aroma

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The sweet smell of green chile roasting on an open flame permeates New Mexico every fall, wafting from roadside stands and grocery store parking lots and inducing mouth-watering visions of culinary wonders. Now one state lawmaker says it’s time for everyone to wake up and smell the chile. Sen. Bill Soules’ […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Wednesday 2/1/2023

Wall Street rose to its highest level since the summer following the latest hike to interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which said it’s finally seeing improvements in inflation. The S&P 500 rallied back from an early 1% loss Wednesday to rise 1%. The Nasdaq jumped and the Dow ended barely higher. As expected, the […]
2 days ago
FILE - Meta's logo can be seen on a sign at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on No...
Associated Press

Meta posts lower Q4 profit, announces huge stock buyback

Facebook parent company Meta posted lower fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Wednesday, hurt by a downturn in the online advertising market and competition from rivals such as TikTok. But the company’s stock soared in extended trading, as its revenue beat Wall Street’s muted expectations and the Menlo Park, California-based company announced a $40 billion stock […]
2 days ago
This Sunday, June 30, 2019, aerial photo released by Earthjustice shows the Alaska's North Slope in...
Associated Press

Biden administration recommends oil drilling in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Biden administration issued a long-awaited study Wednesday that recommends allowing a major oil development on Alaska’s North Slope, and the move — while not final — drew immediate anger from environmentalists who saw it as a betrayal of the president’s pledges to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy sources. […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Electronic Arts, WestRock fall; Stryker, Peloton rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Wednesday: Advanced Micro Devices Inc., up $9.49 to $84.64. The chipmaker’s fourth-quarter financial results beat Wall Street forecasts. Electronic Arts Inc., down $11.92 to $116.76. The maker of “The Sims”, “FIFA” and other video games cut its revenue forecast for its fiscal […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Philadelphia ordered to remove box covering Columbus statue