Summary List Placement
Philadelphia City Council finally voted to apologize for their decision to approve a bombing, which left 11 people dead, including five children, in 1985, an outrage that has been all-but-forgotten.
On May 13, police dropped an explosive device on the roof of 6621 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia after a daylong confrontation with the Black radical group, MOVE, as officers tried to evict them from their compound, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The police fired 10,000 rounds of ammunition into the building before dropping the bomb from a helicopter onto the building’s roof, igniting the destructive inferno.
Gregore J. Sambor, the Police Commissioner who directed the bombing, resigned in November of that year. A grand jury in 1988 cleared then-Mayor W. Wilson Goode and other top city officials of criminal liability for death and destruction resulting from the operation, the New York Times reported.
However, W. Wilson Goode wrote in The Guardian: “The event will remain in my conscience for the rest of my life.”
Scroll down to find out more about the day the police bombed a black neighborhood.
On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia Police dropped a bomb on 6621 Osage Avenue which left 11 people dead, including five children, and burned down 61 homes.
Since 1981, the building had been the headquarters of MOVE, a radical West Philadelphia group whose ideology combined Black revolutionary ideals with environmental and animal rights.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
The police fired 10,000 rounds of ammunition in under 90 minutes at 6621 Osage Avenue, which was known to be occupied by children, at 6am on May 13, 1985, the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission found.
Source: The New York Times
They then dropped a satchel bomb laced with Tovex and C-4 explosives, a military-grade demolition device typically used in combat, on the MOVE compound, the Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission added.
The bomb then sparked a blaze that was left to rage by authorities until there were 11 deaths, including those of five children, and 61 homes destroyed.
Source: The Guardian
The mostly Black neighborhood block surrounding the MOVE headquarters was also completely destroyed with bodies buried amongst the rubble.
There were two survivors: 13-year-old Birdie Africa and 30-year-old Ramona Africa. She was immediately arrested on rioting and conspiracy charges.
She served seven years while Birdie Africa, who later took the name Michael Moses Ward, died in 2013.
Source: The Washington Post
MOVE was founded in 1972 by Vincent Leaphart, a Korean War veteran who took the name John Africa to demonstrate his reverence for the continent.
The group had a mixed relationship with their neighbors and the local community but frequently had run-ins with law enforcement.
Source: Teen Vogue
In 1978, MOVE engaged in a 15-month standoff with then-Mayor Frank Rizzo who ordered them to vacate their original home for ‘violating city ordinance rules.’
He had a notoriously poor relationship with the black community and MOVE began to arm themselves.
It culminated in the death of Police Officer James Ramp who was fatally shot during …read more
Source:: Business Insider