Anniversary accident

The late Frank Rizzo, who grew up on the 2300 block of South Rosewood Street, witnessed his share of crime while serving as police commissioner from 1967 to ’71 and mayor of Philadelphia from ’72 to ’80. A statue of his likeness now can say it is battle-tested, too. Last Friday, the nineteenth anniversary of Rizzo’s passing, anyone enjoying the early afternoon sunshine could have experienced two interesting events at the same location.

At noon, a wreath-laying ceremony to honor Rizzo’s life occurred in front of the Municipal Services Building, 1417 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. At the foot of the statue, the City placed the wreath bearing the words “One Nation under God, Home of the Free, Because of the Brave.”

Shortly before 2 p.m., a speeding car struck the parked vehicle of City Controller Alan Butkovitz, causing minor damage, before doing likewise to the Rizzo statue, according to published reports. The driver of the offending car ended up in police custody, with officials suspecting him of being inebriated.

George Perkins, of the 500 block of South Segal Street, attended the ceremony for Rizzo. Of the irony that a crime would occur on a day honoring the tough-on-crime Rizzo, Perkins said, “He’s still stopping crime. What a guy!”

Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at or ext. 124.