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Group sues Philadelphia mayor, officials over Columbus statue removal efforts
PHILADELPHIA - A group that fought in court to keep a statue of Christopher Columbus in a south Philadelphia park and to have a wooden box covering it removed has now filed suit against Mayor Jim Kenney and members of the city's historical commission over their roles in the effort to remove the statue.The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Friends of Marconi Plaza allege in the complaint filed late last month that officials conspired to abuse the legal process in trying to remove the 146-year-old statue from Marconi Plaza after it became the scene of tense standoffs during demonstrations and unrest over racial injustice in the summer of 2020.RELATED COVERAGE: Judge rules Christopher Columbus statue can remain in South PhiladelphiaGeorge Bochetto, the lead attorney for the group, said he sees the suit as holding government officials accountable."Frankly, it’s shocking what took place here, and it’s a shocking disregard for their responsibilities," Bochetto said.Representatives of the mayor and the historical commission declined comment last week on the lawsuit.The 1876 statue was presented to the city by the Italian American community to commemorate the nation’s centennial. Many Italian Americans have embraced the 15th century explorer — once hailed as the discoverer of America — as a cultural hero and emblem of the city’s deep Italian heritage.