This past Friday, one court from Pennsylvania issued a ruling that the city of Philadelphia is required to fully uncover a recently shrouded statue of Christopher Columbus.
Located in Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia, the Christopher Columbus statue had been boxed into a plywood box in the wake of a number of protests in 2020 making it a central point. However, the Friday ruling from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania stated that the box must be removed, affirming a ruling by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. Instead, the court put the stamp of approval on the construction of a clear structure to surround the statue.
“As a proud Citizen of Philadelphia, I am delighted that both Judge Patrick of the Court of Common Pleas and the Judges of the Commonwealth Court have boldly reaffirmed that the rule of law still matters,” stated the lawyer for the group Friends of Marconi Plaza, George Mochetto, stated in a release from Friday, as reported by NBC 10. “That we are not a society ruled by cancel culture mobs. That all ethnic groups can proudly protect and honor their diverse heritages.”
As a neighborhood group recognized by the city as the state’s official private caretakers of the park, Friends of Marconi Plaza slammed a lawsuit down back in 2021 to halt officials from the city from taking down the statue in the wake of the Philadelphia Historical and Art Commissions both voting to take down the statue in the wake of the riots of 2020, and the city’s Licensing and Inspection Review Board stood with the city and moved forward with the removal of the statue.
The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County issued a ruling in favor of the neighborhood group back in 2021, putting a hard stop on the removal of the statue.
The Commonwealth Court chose to uphold the ruling from the lower court. In a separate order which was given to Steve Keeley, a reporter for Fox 29 News, the court chose to affirm the lower court’s choice in part, directing the city to get rid of the plywood enclosure, however, it also partly reversed the choice, issuing authorization onto the construction of a clear structure around the statue.
“The order is affirmed insofar as it directs the City of Philadelphia to remove the plywood structure covering the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza” @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/p5XoIfdVUZ
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) December 9, 2022
One spokesperson talking for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that the city was “very disappointed in the Court’s ruling,” but would go along with the ruling from the court, including one such as unboxing the statue. “While we will respect this decision, 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,” explained the spokesman.