PHILADELPHIA — A man has been charged with terroristic threats and harassment during a protest near the statue of a former Philadelphia mayor and police commissioner earlier this month.

Police said Saturday that the charges against 63-year-old John Sheerin stemmed from what a spokesman called “verbal threats of violence” Aug. 16 against an officer. Court documents don’t list an attorney and a message left at a number listed for the defendant wasn’t immediately returned.

Critics have called for removal of the statue of Frank Rizzo, who served as mayor from 1972 to 1980, saying he used his power to alienate minorities. Supporters call him a devoted public servant.

A man was arrested earlier after “black power” was spray-painted on the statue. A south Philadelphia mural of Rizzo was also defaced with paint.

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