MOVE Children Led Thousand on Spirited March Through Philadelphia

Shortly after noon on Weds. May 13, 2015, a crowd of about over 500 activists where gathered at 62nd Street and Osage Avenue to remember the date 30 years ago when the Philadelphia police and FBI dropped a bomb on the main MOVE home, killing 11 and destroying blocks of home. MOVE children (children and grandchildren of imprisoned MOVE members) led a march of activists that steadily grew to @ 1,000 as it walked through Philadelphia.

Watch video of march: http://www.ustream.tv/search?q=mumia-abu-jamal — and check out the love from neighbors and passersby.  Also see the live feed for the concert and cultural performances from 4 – 9pm. Or stop by and see it live at First District Place at 3801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. There is a great line up planned including Cornel West, Rebel Diaz, original neighbors from Osage Ave. telling what really happenned, Impact Theater, call-ins from Mumia Abu-Jamal, Delbert and Janine Africa among others.

SEE ONAMOVE.ORG FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT MAY 13, 2015.

Thirty Years After MOVE Bombing: What Has Law Enforcement Learned?

Linn Washington Jr.
May 13, 2015 , The Root

Today many Philadelphia residents, particularly those under 30 years old, are unaware of that history-staining 1985 police attack on members of MOVE, an anti-establishment group founded in 1972. Authorities deemed MOVE a radical organization. The 11 people incinerated were MOVE members, including the organization’s founder, John Africa.

On May 13, 1985, a fire started after Philadelphia police dropped an explosive on a building where members of the MOVE organization where hiding.

On May 13, 1985, a fire started after Philadelphia police dropped an explosive on a building where members of the MOVE organization where hiding. (movie still, Let The Fire Burn)

On May 13, 1985, police in Philadelphia—Pennsylvania’s largest city—dropped a powerful bomb containing military C4 explosives on a house occupied by six children and seven adults.

That aerial assault 30 years ago is one of the worst incidents of police brutality in modern America.

The bomb, dropped from a state police helicopter, sparked a fire.

Philadelphia’s then-Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor, along with then-Fire Commissioner William Richmond, barred firefighters from battling that blaze, pursuing a bizarre strategy to use the fire as a tactical weapon to drive the occupants from their barricaded house. Police had sought to arrest four adults inside the building on seven charges ranging from disorderly conduct to possession of explosives.

That decision to “let the fire burn” allowed the blaze to roar into a firestorm.

The inferno incinerated 11 inside the bombed building, including five children ages 7 to 13. That inferno also destroyed 60 other homes in the West Philadelphia neighborhood, leaving 250 people homeless. All of those killed in that inferno ignited by police were black, as were those left homeless by the inferno’s destruction.

Today many Philadelphia residents, particularly those under 30 years old, are unaware of that history-staining 1985 police attack on members of MOVE, an anti-establishment group founded in 1972. Authorities deemed MOVE a radical organization. The 11 people incinerated were MOVE members, including the organization’s founder, John Africa.

An Overlooked Atrocity

Incredibly, an aerial bombing in an American city by police rarely makes the lists of worst police-abuse incidents, despite its gruesome death toll and extensive destruction.

Many “worst lists” include the 1991 shooting of Amadou Diallo, who died during a 41-bullet fusillade from New York City police officers. Yet during the assault on May 13 that began at 5:50 a.m., Philadelphia police fired thousands of bullets into the MOVE house using a range of firearms, including machine guns. The confrontation went on until police dropped the bomb at 5:27 p.m.

The infamous 1985 bombing is far from an isolated incident in a dim past. The failure to hold Philadelphia authorities accountable for that deadly, destructive episode contributed to the impunity that drives the persistence of police brutality—brutality that has triggered massive protests across America since last year, after prosecutors in St. Louis and New York City manipulated grand juries away from indictments against the police officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

In America, prosecutors control the grand jury process without input from judges and other lawyers. Legal experts repeatedly criticize the failure of local prosecutors to charge police even when evidence documents indictable offenses. A 1991 article in the American Bar Association Journal criticized the “unwritten code” that prosecutors will not bring charges against police.

After that fatal 1985 raid, Philadelphia prosecutors manipulated a grand jury away from indictments against police. Prosecutors even refused to file perjury charges against police officers caught lying to the grand jury. Not a single Philadelphia police officer or city official faced prosecution for the death and destruction on May 13, 1985.

Philadelphia prosecutors saw no police wrongdoing in the deaths of those children. Their stance contradicted findings of a special investigating commission appointed by Philadelphia’s then-Mayor Wilson Goode (the first African American to hold the position) that described the deaths of the five MOVE children as “unjustified homicides.”

The city’s prosecutors claimed that bombing children was not illegal because the force from the police bomb “was applied only against” the adults, according to a May 1988 Philadelphia grand jury report. That convoluted reasoning rested on the pretense that the blast from the bomb affected only the adults inside the bombed building and not the children.

Although prosecutors refused to charge police and city officials, they did vigorously charge the lone surviving adult MOVE member, Ramona Africa. She served her entire seven-year sentence for conspiracy and riot because she refused state parole-board demands to renounce her MOVE membership as a condition for early release.

Ramona Africa, along with a MOVE child, escaped the fire. Both sustained serious burns.

The special commission concluded that police gunfire drove other fleeing MOVE members back into the inferno. However, prosecutors—again employing convoluted reasoning—claimed that some MOVE members returned to the blazing building either because they wrongly believed that the police were shooting or because they intended to commit suicide.

An Incendiary History of Conflict

In many ugly ways, the series of conflicts between MOVE and Philadelphia authorities constitute a case study in the failures of police, prosecutors and judges.

Those conflicts with the MOVE organization began in 1972 when Philadelphia experienced epidemic-level police abuses under then-Mayor Frank Rizzo, an ex-cop. Police under Rizzo targeted the often-disruptive MOVE for harsh enforcement of minor infractions. Yet prosecutors and judges ignored that brutal enforcement.

An Aug. 8, 1978, clash between Philadelphia police and MOVE in which a police officer died led to 30- to 100-year sentences for nine MOVE members. Those nine included four MOVE women who police testified were unarmed, holding only small children during that clash.

The judge who convicted the MOVE 9 admitted that he could not determine from trial evidence which male MOVE member had killed the police officer, but the judge declared that all nine deserved the same sentence, whether they were armed or unarmed.

MOVE’s campaign to win release of the nine imprisoned members set the stage for May 13, 1985. MOVE’s campaign strangely included intimidating and harassing its neighbors on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. The May 13 police raid on MOVE’s fortified 6221 Osage Ave. house was a belated effort to stop MOVE harassment of its neighbors, who had complained about the group for more than a year.

Afterward, Philadelphia prosecutors used a legally flawed premise to clear all police and civilian officials for their May 13 actions: No one possessed a clear intent to harm MOVE members. Although a legal prerequisite for crimes like arson or murder is intent, crimes like reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe are based on results, not intent.

Prosecutors proclaimed that dropping a bomb on children was not reckless, and allowing the fire to burn did not cause a catastrophe. Like the Philadelphia prosecutors who had failed to see obvious crimes, federal prosecutors found no civil rights violations in the fiery deaths of those five children.

When Ramona Africa sued city officials for the bombing and firestorm nearly 10 years after May 13, 1985, a federal judge ruled the bombing legal but allowed a jury to determine the legality of the fatal fire. When the federal jury ruled against Sambor and Richmond and imposed modest $600 fines for allowing the fire to burn, the federal judge voided the jury’s action by ruling that the two officials had “official immunity” from any liability. But the judge did not eliminate the jury’s verdict that ordered the city of Philadelphia to pay Ramona Africa and relatives of two of the MOVE members who perished in that inferno a total of $1.5 million.

Today the 6200 block of Osage Avenue has a macabre feel. More than half of the rebuilt homes are abandoned.

The black residents of Osage Avenue in 1985, whose life possessions were destroyed in the inferno, received insult and inactions from city officials and federal judges.

The persistence of police brutality proves that authorities across America did not learn an important lesson from that deadly May 1985 incident: Lawless law enforcement harms society.

Linn Washington Jr. is a Philadelphia-based journalist who covered the May 13, 1985, clash. He has reported on police brutality since 1975. Washington is a journalism professor at Temple University.

Mumia ordered back to infirmary April 27th and being held incommunicado! Call now!

Statement from the MOVE Organization and International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal

Ona MOVE!

On 4/27/15 our brother, Mumia Abu Jamal was ordered back to the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania. Ever since yesterday Mumia has been held incommunicado at the hands of prison officials. At this point we do not know what is happening with Mumia. Yesterday his lawyer, Bret Grote was not allowed in to see him– his own lawyer! Mumia’s attorney, Bret Grote and a member of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, Johanna Fernandez, both people who are supposed to have authorized access inside the prison at any time according to the DOC rules were denied.

Prison officials want to keep Mumia isolated from outside visitors and to keep pictures of the medical neglect being inflicted upon Mumia by prison officials from being seen by the public. These sadists do not wanna be exposed for their role in premeditated murder. What the police failed to do on 12/9/81 and what this government failed to do in 8/1995 and 10/1999 prison officials are trying to do now and that’s murder Mumia.

They are keeping him isolated from the world and slowly killing him. We cannot allow this to happen and it’s up to us to stop the state from committing murder just like we did in 95 and 99!

Keep the pressure on! We must speak out for our freedom fighter brother Mumia, just as he has always spoke out for us. We can’t afford to relax with this situation for one minute. Make no mistake: they will murder Mumia if they think they can get away with it.

From Prison Radio:
Quick Sheet to calling Prison & State Officials
Often when we call in, prison and state officials have taken their lines off the hook. Know that every single call matters, even when they don’t pick up. Here are three numbers that usually work; please focus on calling:

John Wetzel, PA Secretary of Corrections: (717) 728-4109

Governor Tom Wolf: (717) 787-2500

SCI Mahanoy: (570) 773-2158, then dial zero

Wetzel’s number will go to voicemail. Wolf’s number will usually be answered. Mahanoy, extension 0, will usually be answered. We’re asking everyone to call these numbers repeatedly for 15 minutes per day.

If you get voicemail, leave a message.

If answered, say as much as you can before they end the call. Please call that same number and do it again. Our experience is that after calling the same number multiple times, whomever answers the phone will eventually talk to you, if only to try to persuade you to stop calling. This is your opportunity to fully state your concern and demands for freedom and lifesaving medical care.

Make the Calls For Mumia’s Life!

MOVE and ICFFMAJ Statement on the Prison’s Attempt to Murder Mumia

This government is actively killing Mumia right now at SCI Mahanoy. When Mumia was transferred to general population in December of 2012, Maureen Faulkner and the Fraternal Order of Police made it clear that they intended for him to die there. Maureen Faulkner stated that now the time “doesn’t seem so far off” before Mumia “stands before his ultimate judge.” She hinted that she hoped he’d be killed by another inmate. They are currently carrying out that exact plan with prison doctors! Mumia was held in isolation for thirty years. When they saw that he had emerged from that strong, healthy, and determined, they decided to come at him another way. Despite being shot and beaten on December 9th, 1981, Mumia survived. They failed at executing him despite two execution dates, and after thirty years of isolation they couldn’t break his spirit. Mumia’s medical condition goes far beyond medical neglect or incompetence– this is deliberate murder.

Mumia’s wife, Wadiya Jamal, visited him twice this week and witnessed that his condition is way worse than the previous week. Mumia came into the visiting room walking baby steps, in severe pain, and talking slowly and quietly. His face was sunken in, his skin is blackened like a burn victim with open wounds, and his arms, torso, legs and testicles are severely swollen with skin that is tightened and hard from swelling. Sitting down and standing up are both painful.

Prison doctors say they don’t know exactly what’s wrong with Mumia and yet they won’t allow outside doctors in to see him. It isn’t that they don’t know, it’s that they know exactly what’s happening and it is exactly what they intend to happen! One of the drugs Mumia is being given, Cyclosporine, is known to lower the immune system and to cause many of the symptoms Mumia is being tortured by: chills, aches, problems with speech or walking, muscle weakness, tremors or muscle spasms. Mumia is suffering horribly and he is stuck choosing between having no medical care or being treated by the people employed by an institution which is set on his murder. The only solution is for Mumia to be home with his family!

It’s no accident that this attack on Mumia comes as people are rising up across the country to protest the police murders of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray and many more. Mumia’s voice has been key in educating the world about these killings and in uniting people in struggle. As masses of people are rising up in rebellion they need Mumia silenced more now than ever. We must unite like never before to fight against this police terrorism and bring Mumia home! Mumia has given his life for this movement, he has sacrificed everything for true justice, now is the time to pay it back!

*******

Flood The Phone lines of John Kerestes superintendent of SCI Mahonoy and demand that Mumia be allowed to see an outside doctor and get the complete adequate medical care he needs immediately

Demand that Mumia Abu-Jamal see an outside doctor ASAP.

John Kerestes, Superintendent SCI Mahanoy: 570-773-2158 x8102 |570-783-2008 Fax | 301 Morea Road, Frackville PA 17932

Tom Wolf, PA Gvrnr: 717-787-2500 | governor@PA.gov | 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg PA 17120

John Wetzel, PA DOC: 717-728-4109 | 717-728-4178 Fax | ra-contactdoc@poc.gov | 1920 Technology Pkwy, Mechanicsburg PA 17050

Susan McNaughton, DOC Press secretary 717-728-4025. PA Docsmcnaughton@pa.gov

DEMAND THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA RELEASE MUMIA FROM PRISON SO THAT HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS CAN PROVIDE HIM WITH THE MEDICAL CARE HE NEEDS!

Click below to contribute in getting Mumia the immediate medical care he needs
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mumia-abu-jamal-needs-medical-care-now

Phil Africa Passed Away Under Suspicious Circumstances

On Saturday, January 10th 2015 Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s First Minister of Defense, and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, PA. On Sunday, January 4th Phil Africa wasn’t feeling well and went to the prison infirmary. Though he wasn’t feeling well, other inmates saw Phil Africa walking, stretching and doing jumping jacks. Hearing that Phil was in the infirmary MOVE members drove up to visit him and were denied a visit by the prison. While they were visiting with Delbert Africa, Phil was secretly transported to Wilkes Barre General Hospital where he was held in total isolation, incommunicado for five days.

Prison officials at SCI-Dallas wouldn’t communicate about Phil’s condition. They told MOVE that Phil was at Wilkes Barre General hospital but the hospital denied he was there and this back and forth lie went on for days almost the entire time Phil was being held. The hospital and the prison behaved very suspiciously denying Phil the ability to call family members or his wife of 44 years, Janine Africa, stating that she was not a blood relative. The hospital and prison received hundreds of phone calls in support of Phil from around the world. When they finally submitted to pressure and allowed Phil to call Janine on Thursday, January 8th he was heavily drugged, incoherent and couldn’t even hold the phone to talk to her.

On Friday, January 9th Phil was sent back to the prison infirmary and placed in hospice care upon arrival. On Saturday, January 10th Ramona and Carlos Africa were granted permission to visit Phil in the prison infirmary. When they reached him he was incoherent and couldn’t talk or move his head to look at them. An hour after they left Delbert called with the news that Phil passed away.

Inmates in the infirmary and others in the prison were shocked when they heard the news. They had witnessed his vigorous health for decades in the prisons, had just seen him stretching and doing jumping jacks six days earlier. This rapid decline all occurred while he was being literally held incommunicado from his MOVE family at Wilkes Barre General Hospital or Dallas prison or wherever these conspirators were holding him with murderous intent.

The fact that Phil was isolated for the six days before he passed, The prison even refused to acknowledge that he was in the hospital is beyond Suspicious

This is another example of how the system hates MOVE and will do anything to stop MOVE. You can look at the example of August 8th, 1978 when the MOVE 9 were illegally imprisoned, and May 13th, 1985 when the government dropped a bomb and intentionally murdered 11 MOVE members to see this point clearly. When Merle Africa died in prison on March 13th, 1998 the conditions were very similar. She had been one way in the prison, but within hours of being forced to go to an outside hospital she was dead.

Phil AfricaPhil made a deep impression on people all around the world. He was constantly writing, often dozens of letters a day, encouraging solidarity and strength, and warmly advising hundreds of people. Phil worked hard to learn to paint and created countless paintings which he sent to supporters for free to draw attention to issues, get raffled off for the struggle, and bring people together. Phil took his commitment and work as a revolutionary very seriously, but was often smiling, laughing, and giving people hugs and encouragement. He was a warm father figure to many in the prison where he taught inmates how to box, to think, and how to get stronger. Despite having two of his children murdered by the system and being separated by prison, Phil was a father figure to many. He was separated from his wife Janine for over 36 of the 44 years they were married, but he worked hard to stay connected with her even though they were so callously isolated by the system.

It’s this system’s intention for MOVE people to die in prison. The MOVE 9 never should have been imprisoned at all, and according to their sentence they should have been paroled over six years ago. The death of Merle and Phil Africa rests directly at the feet of this government! Phil will never be forgotten and this is not the end he is dearly missed but his strong example should inspire everyone to fight harder for the freedom of the MOVE 9 and all political prisoners. This latest government treachery will be the fuel needed to motivate people to step up the pace for this revolution.

LONG LIVE PHIL AFRICA!

LONG LIVE MERLE AFRICA!

FREE THE MOVE 9!

LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!

For More Info Or How You Can Help

Contact
Ramona Africa
Ona MoveLLJA@gmail.com

Overflow crowd supports the MOVE 9 on 36th Anniversary of Their Political Imprisonment

August 8, 2014 – 36th anniversary of the incarceration of the Move 9

CLICK THIS ARTICLE TITLE TO VIEW VIDEOS OF EVENT.


Ramona Africa speaks: Introduction.

 


Video with Dr. Walter Palmer, Professor and Mediator in 1977-78. Introduction by Ramona Africa (and briefly Michael Coard). (21:51)

 


Video with Activist-Attorney Michael Coard (Ramona Africa brief intro). (21:02)

 


Video with Activist-Attorney Alton Maddox. (18:53)

“Let The Fire Burn” new documentary film about bombing of MOVE

“This MASTERPIECE about an astounding and forgotten moment in recent American history SHOULD BE SEEN FAR AND WIDE.” – Filmmaker Magazine

“Has THE FORCE AND INTRIGUE of a courtroom thriller…Ripples with URGENCY and MORAL COMPLEXITY.”

In the astonishingly gripping Let the Fire Burn, director Jason Osder has crafted that rarest of cinematic objects: a found-footage film that unfurls with the tension of a great thriller. On May 13, 1985, by order of local Philadelphia authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated–and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history. See trailer and read more at http://letthefireburn.com.

Purchase or rent for digital viewing on iTUNES (buy $12.99);  AMAZON INSTANT (rent $3-4.99 & buy $9-12.99); NetflixVUDU (rent $3-4.99 & buy $9-12.99 & e-gift $9.99); and GOOGLE PLAY (buy $9.99). Purchase a DVD disc for $22.49.

Playing now in many states, check out show dates near you!

MOVE 9

Almost 35 years after the Aug. 8, 1978 confrontation in Philadelphia, the eight remaining “MOVE 9” prisoners are still being denied parole, after becoming eligible in 2008. MOVE is asking for support in building public pressure for the MOVE 9’s release. The MOVE 9 are:

Name Photo Location Years Imprisoned
Michael Davis Africa Michael Davis Africa Graterford, PA 35
William Phillips Africa William Phillips Africa Dallas, PA 35
Delbert Orr Africa Delbert Orr Africa Dallas, PA 35
Edward Goodman Africa eddie-65x100px Frackville, PA 35
Charles Sims Africa Charles Sims Africa Hunlock Creek, PA 35
Debbie Sims Africa Debbie Sims Africa Cambridge Springs, PA 35
Janet Hollaway Africa Janet Hollaway Africa Cambridge Springs, PA 35
Janine Phillips Africa Janine Phillips Africa Cambridge Springs, PA 35
Merle Africa (transitioned) Merle Africa South Carolina 35

Write to the MOVE 9 and let them know they are remembered.

Michael Davis Africa #AM4973
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-244

William Phillips Africa #AM4984
Delbert Orr Africa #AM4985
1000 Follies Rd.
Dallas, PA 18612

Edward Goodman Africa #AM4974
Mumia Abu Jamal #AM8335
301 Morea Rd.
Frackville, PA 17932

Charles Sims Africa #AM4975
660 State Route 11
Hunlock Creek, PA 18621-3136

Debbie Sims Africa #006307
Janet Hollaway Africa #006308
Janine Phillips Africa #6309
451 Fullerton Ave.
Cambridge Springs, PA 16403-1238

Check out www.move9parole.blogspot.com for more specific information on how to support parole for the MOVE 9