A statue of Christopher Columbus that city officials claim is controversial will remain in South Philadelphia after a local judge Tuesday overruled city officials' attempts to remove it.
The ruling overturns a city licensing board decision last September that upheld a July 2020 decision by the city historical commission to remove the 144-year-old statue.
Common pleas court Judge Paula Patrick wrote that the city failed to provide an adequate opportunity for public input about the statue's future. She further said the decision to remove it was not supported by law and was baseless due to insufficient evidence.
Judge Patrick went further, blasting city officials in her decision. "It is baffling to this court as to how the City of Philadelphia wants to remove the Statue without any legal basis. The city's entire argument and case is devoid of any legal foundation."
Following the decision, a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney said, "While we are very disappointed with the ruling, we're reviewing it now and exploring all potential options — including a possible appeal. The statue remains in Marconi Plaza and will continue to be secured in its existing box."
Kenney's chief of staff told the city's Art Commission last year that the statue had to be removed due to public safety. The city failed to provide evidence of a danger to the public, the judge wrote.
Additionally, the Washington Examiner reported the mayor had earlier cited systemic racism as a reason to have the statue moved.
''Like many communities across the country, Philadelphia is in the midst of a much-needed reckoning about the legacy of systemic racism and oppression in this country and around the world,'' said Kenney. ''Part of that reckoning requires reexamining what historical figures deserve to be commemorated in our public spaces.''
NPR reports that over the last two years, Columbus statues were removed in nearby Camden, N.J., and Wilmington, Delaware. In Richmond, Virginia, a statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down, set on fire and thrown into a lake. In Columbia, S.C., the first U.S. city named for Columbus, a statue of the explorer was removed after it was vandalized several times, and a vandalized statue in Boston also was removed from its pedestal.
The Examiner, in an editorial published Thursday said, ''Columbus’s day in court corrected Philadelphia's gross injustice. The attacks on the Columbus monument had no legal basis, as the judge ruled, but it also had no moral legitimacy either. No one alive today in the city of Philadelphia was victimized by Columbus. Nor were any of their ancestors, it seems safe to say.''
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.