PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Frank Rizzo statue was defaced with white spray paint that read 'black power' late Thursday night. FOX 29 cameras caught the vandalism and immediately called police.
Authorities say 40-year-old Wali Rahman has been charged with criminal mischief, institutional vandalism and desecrating objects.
Rahman was taken into custody at his Chew Avenue after FOX 29 cameras caught the vandalism at the statue across from city hall. Police recovered the spray paint can and other evidence during a search.
"That's the type of assistance that helps us in all crimes, not just defacing a statue, whether it be a homicide, a robbery, whatever," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
A police detail that guarded the statue all week after threats were made was removed last night.
"I'd like to get the details as to where everybody was when that was being spray painted, but we have more problems in our neighborhoods than Frank Rizzo statues," Mayor Jim Kenney said.
"We're not about defacing any property. That is our mission to protect people and property," Commissioner Ross said.
Rizzo statue supporters showed up Friday morning and placed a black sheet over the graffiti. One woman was emotional when speaking to FOX 29 about the overnight vandalism.
"I was just really upset that somebody would take the time out to do hatred like they just did," supporter Debbie said.
"There is a way to go about exercising your views on such issues. We would highly suggest that people use them instead of resorting to damaging public or private property," Commissioner Ross said.
NOTE: FOX 29 crews called immediately called police as they witnessed the vandalism.