I’m sure many of you will recall the Philadelphia incident some 20 years ago where they dropped a bomb on a housing complex to get some members of the terrorist organization MOVE to surrender. Didn’t work out so well. Burned many houses and killed the members. The city paid dearly for that one.
But what you may not remember is how MOVE came to be, and the fact that they killed a police officer three years prior to Mumia killing Daniel Faulkner.
Tony Allen, a former MOVE member who left the organization in 2004 has now devoted his life to outing the criminals inside MOVE and to debunking the Mumia cult. He gives a quick rundown on MOVE:
1973. Handy-man,Vincent Lephart (who would later change his name to John Africa) met a college professor named Donald Glassey. Glassey was impressed by Lephart’s anti-society philosophy and agreed to write them down.
These writings would turn into the “Guidelines,” which would become the bible of the MOVE cult. The two men would hold “rap-sessions” that would attract diverse audiences and discuss Lephart’s views. Some of those in attendance to these meetings would become the first members of MOVE.
Accounts vary about his group’s original name. Some said it was Community Action Movement; while others said it was the American Christian Movement for Life. Regardless, the name was soon shortened and capitalized to MOVE.
The charismatic Leaphart, whose IQ was measured at 89 and who was considered to be “orthogenically retarded” before he dropped out of public school, began calling himself John Africa. All other MOVE members adopted the last name “Africa,” signifying that they were members of a common family.
Before long, MOVE’s outlandish, and sometimes violent behavior divided the liberal and tolerant Powelton Village community. The group’s supporters stated that they were being harassed by the police; critics viewed them as a nihilistic cult that existed to disrupt and, in more than a few cases, physically attack those who disagreed with it.
1973. In May, MOVE members bought half of an apartment building at 33d and Pearl Streets in Powelton Village and later took over the other half after allegedly threatening the owner’s life.
1973-1976. MOVE members initiated hundreds of demonstrations against any and everything. These vulgar demonstrations would often escalate into violence and MOVE members would often be arrested and routinely convicted on numerous charges. Much to the dismay of neighbors and city health inspectors, the group erected an eight foot high barricade around their headquarters and erected other types of fortification around the compound.
March 28, 1976. There is a large brawl between Philadelphia Police who responded to noise complaints at the MOVE compound. MOVE claimed that in the encounter that a three week old child was killed. They declined to allow for an autopsy on the child and later a former member of the group would admit that the child had died “naturally” and that MOVE had chosen to use the baby’s death for “propaganda” against the police.
MAY 20, 1977. A half-dozen MOVE members, some wearing khaki uniforms, brandished shotguns, rifles, pistols, and wooden clubs from atop the barricade after the courts gave L&I inspectors the go-ahead to enter the MOVE property.
“Don’t attempt to enter MOVE headquarters or harm MOVE people unless you want an international incident,” MOVE declares in a written statement. “We are prepared to hit reservoirs, empty hotels and apartment houses, close factories and tie up traffic in major cities of Europe. The statement was signed with the chemical formulas for nitroglycerine and TNT.
Later on that year, John Africa and several of his disciples were indicted on federal weapons and conspiracy charges after the ATF uncovered 41 bombs from the property of a MOVE member’s relative.
AUG. 8, 1978. Police moved against the Powelton compound, after MOVE failed to abide by the terms of a previous deal ending the blockade around their headquarters. MOVE members told the police that “A lot of your wives will be wearing black tonight.”
MOVE members open fired and veteran police Officer James J. Ramp was shot dead at age 52. Three other officers and four firefighters were wounded. No MOVE members were killed in the assault, but one, Delbert Africa, was brutally attacked when he climbed out of the water-filled basement.
After the longest and most expensive criminal trial up until that time, nine MOVE members – five men, four women – were convicted of third-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 30-100 years in prison each.
There is plenty more history on the webpage, including the fact that witnesses have been killed prior to later trials against MOVE members. But what concerns me now is that in August members of this group will be up for parole for the first time. Tony has started a petition:
James Ramp was killed by people who have never once acknowledged the crime to which they have committed, never apologized to the family they left devastated, never once told the truth about the situation. And to add insult to injury, they defile his memory by claiming that the bullet that ended his life was one fired from a fellow officer.
And just as absurd as it is to think that these MOVE members will breath the free air, it should go without saying that one of those sent to jail for the killing is already free. This August she was observed screaming around the city “Free The MOVE 9”. She is still unrepentant, still a devotee of the cult of death that murdered James Ramp and still a murderer. But yet she is free to do as she wishes, while Officer Ramp is free only to lay in his grave.
In an effort to demonstrate to the parole board the resistance to the release of the “MOVE 9”, I started a petition that to date has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures. I have set a goal of 10,000 to send to the parole board around June or July.
Tony has found out that the PA Parole Board do not take into account the concerns of individuals except those directly affected by the crime. The concerns of the community in which these people would be paroled to have no weight.
However, I would have to think on a personal level that if inundated by letters and presented with thousands of signatures, that such an outpouring of outrage would have to affect the decision of the parole board. That the board has already let out one of the murderers of James Ramp is vile enough, to unleash eight more is unconscionable and must be stopped.
So, after signing the petition, please take the time to write a letter to the parole board. These scum should never see the light of day
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole
1101 South Front Street, Suite 5100
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2517