Saturday, April 16, 2005

James Ramp, The MOVE 9, And Justice

There are some things that people should know about the events of August 8, 1978, and of equal importance, about the "MOVE 9." It is also important to examine what MOVE really thinks about their "brothers and sisters" who have been in jail for over 25 years.

First of all, it is important to explore the possibility that James Ramp was killed by one of his fellow officers. A good place to begin is by looking at the list of wounded from the gunfire on August 8, 1978, for it speaks volumes as to the believability of MOVE's theories.


Wounded Police

Officer James Ramp (killed by a bullet fired from .223 caliber rifle linked conclusively to a weapon taken from MOVE HQ. This weapon was purchased by MOVE member Phil Africa.)

Lieutenant William H. Krause (gunshot wounds to the abdomen and right arm)

Officer Thomas Hesson (gunshot wounds to the chest)

Officer Charles Stewart (gunshot wounds to the right shoulder, leg, and head

Officer Harry Mackel (bullet shots to the buttocks)

Officers Giest and Hurst (smoke inhalation)

Wounded Firefighters

John Walsh (bullet wounds to neck and head)

Robert Snead (shotgun pellet wounds to the face)

Dennis O'Neil (shotgun pellet wounds to the left arm)

Robert Lentine (shotgun pellet wounds to the face)

Two other firefighters sustained minor injuries

This list of bullet wounds is relevent for, if one is to believe MOVE's theory of events, all of these men would have had to have been shot by their own comrades. They would also have had to have been shot by at least two different types of weapons, both shotgun and rifle.

Let’s assume for a moment that MOVE’s theory is correct, that the police shot one of their own officers in order to railroad and convict MOVE members.

If this were true, it would be a conspiracy that would literally involve hundreds of people. It would have to include the police themselves, officers who would literally turn their guns on their own friends and co-workers. Remember, it was not just Ramp who was shot, other officers were gravely wounded and could have lost their lives in the incident.

Firefighters would also have had to be in on the plan, as well. A number of them testified in court that they saw MOVE members with guns, as well as being fired upon by MOVE members through the floor of MOVE headquarters. Other firefighters were on the deluge hoses directing water into the MOVE basement when they were struck by the MOVE gunfire, gunfire that could only have come from the basement.

The media and other observers would also have to be involved in the conspiracy to frame MOVE. With only a couple of exceptions, the reporters on the scene clearly indicated that the gun fire came from MOVE’s basement and came first.

Facts About the Case of the “MOVE 9"

-More than 2,000 rounds of ammunition was removed from the MOVE Basement, as were eleven “operable” weapons.

-When Police and negotiators, Walter Palmer and a Catholic Priest, implored MOVE members to at least let the children go, the response was “Why don’t you take gasoline and set fire to us?”

-MOVE’s own children would tell investigators that “all” of the MOVE adults had weapons and that MOVE members opened fire “cause cops ain’t wanna shoot.”

-Multiple police officers and firefighters reported seeing MOVE members holding weapons. Chuck Africa was observed with the type of rifle that was linked to the death of James Ramp.

-The soonest that MOVE members may be elligbible for release would be 2008. The fact that they have yet to admit their obvious guilt, as well as the issue that they have instigated numerous violent episodes while incarcerated, makes it unlikely that they would be paroled at that time. Delbert Africa often boasts to visitors how he put a guard in a head lock through the feeding hole of the door and encouraged other inmates to escape.

Do MOVE’s Leaders Really Want to “Free the MOVE 9"

Despite all of MOVE’s rhetoric to the contrary, I would have to say the answer to that would be a big fat NO.

As it stands right now, Alberta Africa is in complete control of MOVE. Since her release from prison, though, she has defiled nearly every principle that John Africa allegedly stood for.

The reigning heir of MOVE and widow of John Africa lives in a big house in a white neighborhood, with her second white husband, and her white son that she gave birth to through in vitro-fertilization. Alberta has put her son in modeling and ballet classes, while other MOVE children are barely afforded the abilities to spell their own names.

She is known to hit the booze every now and then. Plus, unlike every other person in the cult, she doesn’t contribute a dime to support her extravagant lifestyle. She lives off of a trust fund, while other MOVE members and supporters live in near squalid conditions working sometimes multiple jobs.

The last thing this woman wants is MOVE members who actually may believe in “MOVE law” to come out of prison and see how this woman has made a mockery out of their precious “religion.” I would think with the MOVE 9 out of prison, her days in power would be numbered.

Another issue worth mentioning is the MOVE cult’s obsession with Mumia to the detriment of their own imprisoned members. Mumia gets a team of attorneys, private investigators, fully paid tuition to colleges etc...What do the MOVE 9 get? One underpaid out classed and inexperienced attorney who won’t return their calls or letters. Nearly every time I visited MOVE members in jail, the conversation would lead inevitably to their awful legal situation and how they felt their attorney was inept. Although they never dared to say it out loud, I always sensed an undercurrent of resentment and jealousy towards the attention and resources afforded to Mumia and not them.

But why would MOVE’s leaders in essence abandon the “fight to free the MOVE 9?" After all, isn’t their freedom what the martyrs of May 13th died for? Maybe, but today’s MOVE only cares about yesterday’s martyrs and only if there is some kind of profit involved in either monetary means or in supporter membership increases.

The reality is, there is no fortune to be made in fighting for the MOVE 9. Their aren’t fund-raising trips to California and France. There are no celebrities waiting in line to get on visiting lists to go see MOVE members in jail. It is a cause that never really took hold and only exists on the peripheral of Mumia’s case.

Maybe the MOVE 9 should take to writing bad poetry and start quoting Howard Zinn. Maybe they should attach themselves to any and every lefty political cause that comes their way. Maybe than MOVE’s leaders will start to pay attention to their abandoned comrades. It could happen, but, I doubt it.

Then again, maybe they will wake up and realize that in surrendering their lives to the irrational dictates of a megalomaniac, they squandered their futures on an unrealizable dream that undeniably became a living nightmare of death..

Maybe they will lament sacrificing their children to John Africa. Maybe they'll see that the self proclaimed protector of life actually was a bringer of death and suffering.

Maybe they have started to realize that it is more than likely that they will die in prison, alone and forgotten. The tiny bit of support they garnered through the Mumia movement is all, but gone. They are victims of diminishing returns mixed with people's apprehension about getting involved with a cult that preaches life, but is awash in blood, pain, fear (and most recently for John Gilbride) death.

As for me, I will see the “MOVE 9” again. I will be at their parole hearings with the letters they sent me celebrating the death of John Gilbride. I will be there to tell people that until they end their cynical peddling of lies that they deserve to live in the hell that they have made for themselves.

When all is said and done, they have no one to blame for their predicament, but themeslves. They may have been nieve in believing that John Africa was the answer to all the world's problems, however, they made the decision to brandish weapons, threaten the lives of police and firemen, and then deliver their promise to kill anyone who came to their headquarters in Powelton Village. They squeezed the trigger and now they must accept culpability for their actions.

10 Comments:

At 11:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Tuesday, August 8th,1978 hundreds of cops in flak jackets and riot helmets surrounded the 33rd Street location at dawn and ordered MOVE to surrender.

Police then rolled in specially modified construction vehicles and tore down the fence and smashed out windows.

Just before 7:00 am, MOVE was notified by bullhorn: "Uniformed officers will enter your house for the purpose of taking each of you into custody. Any resistance or use of force will be met with force." In the next hour a total of 45 armed police entered and slowly searched the three story house only to find that MOVE was barricaded in the basement.

Around 8:00 am, firemen pried off the boarded up basement windows and turned on water canons. MOVE adults were soon wading in rising water with children in their arms in danger of drowning.

Suddenly, gunshots rang out and police throughout the area opened fire.

In the short period of sustained fire, Officer James Ramp was fatally wounded.

Three other policemen and several firemen were also hit. (The minutes of a police staff meeting two days later noted one captain's opinion of "an excessive amount of unnecessary firing on the part of police personnel when there were no targets per se to shoot at." One of the stake-out officers later admitted under oath that he had emptied his carbine into the very basement from which he heard screaming women and crying children.) After the gunshots subsided and tear gas was fired in, MOVE adults began carrying children out of the basement and were immediately arrested by angry cops.

In the 1985 standoof and subsequent firebombing of MOVE and 60 homes; over 10,000 rounds of ammunition was fired into the house of Osage Ave. 10,000 rounds!

It is very likely to me that Philadelphia Police used similar amounts of excessive firepower against MOVE in 1978. And I don't think the cops killed Ramp intentionally, like a big conspiracy plot as this blog suggests. When you fire thousands of rounds at "no targets", you have what can result in friendly fire. Ramp was a victim of this, as was Officer Mackel (shot in the butt); if he was facing the MOVE house which would make sense, then a butt shot must come from behind- simple ain't it? Also if a house is surrounded, with all weapons aimed low at the basement, anyone familiar with guns and bullets can tell you that they richochet and can injure the shooter and other people close by.

 
At 11:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As police grabbed the twelve adults and eleven children coming out of the basement, MOVE mothers had their babies snatched from their arms before being handcuffed and taken away. All the adults were mistreated and beaten by arresting officers eager to vent their rage. One such arrest was captured on film unbeknownst to officers Joseph Zagame, Charles Geist, Terrance Mulvihill and Lawrence D'Ulisse. As Delbert Africa emerged from a basement window empty-handed with outstretched arms (top of page. click on pic to return), Zagame, without provoca- tion, smashed him in the face with a police helmet as D'Ulisse connected with a blow from the butt of a shotgun. Knocked to the ground, Delbert was then dragged by his hair across the street where the other officers set upon him, savagely kicking him in the head, kidneys and groin.

Initial denials of police brutality became difficult to maintain after video tapes of the beating were broadcast. Only after the resulting public outcry arose did the DA's office take any action. A special grand jury was impaneled which eventually handed down indictments. Not until a few years later were Zagame, Geist and Mulvihill brought to trial on assault charges. On February 3, 1981, just before the jury was to start deliberating, Judge Stanley Kubacki made a surprising departure from normal pro- cedures and ordered the jury dismissed and the officers acquit- ted, despite irrefutable photographic evidence that they had indeed beaten Delbert. Ed Rendell's office never brought charges against Office D'Ulisse, though his identity and participation in the brutality were well known and documented.

Three months after the aquittal, Geist's wife, Carolyn, who was also a police officer, shot him during a domestic dispute. He went into a coma and died 8 months later. It was revealed that she had been battered by her abusive husband on many occasions but the police supervisors she had pleaded to for help had urged her to keep quiet so as not to expose his sadistic tenden- cies while he was on trial for beating Delbert. (Zagame, D'Ulisse, and Mulvihill all took part in the 1985 MOVE confrontation, each carrying an automatic weapon and firing it during the course of the day. Mulvihill committed suicide in May of '89.)

 
At 12:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE FIREBOMBING OF MOVE by Kiilu Nyasha
April, 2005

On May 13th, 1985, in the early morning hours of Mother’s Day, Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode ordered hundreds of police, in coordination with the FBI, to lay siege to the home of MOVE on Osage Avenue in West Philly. From a police helicopter, a bomb (C4 military explosive) was dropped on the roof instantly engulfing the structure in flames that quickly spread from house to house completely destroying 61 houses owned by Black people.

"It's like Vietnam," said one resident.

MOVE members, all sir-named Africa, were trapped in their house by gunfire from the police who shot at anyone attempting to escape the flames. Consequently, eleven people including five children were incinerated, namely: Conrad, Delisha, Frank, Netta, Phil, Raymond, Rhonda, Theresa, Tomaso, Tree, and Vincent Africa. Only one adult, Ramona, and one child, Birdie, survived albeit with extensive burns. Ramona was immediately taken into custody and spent seven years in prison essentially for surviving and refusing to denounce MOVE.

It hardly matters what one might think of the naturalist organization, their religious creed or their communal lifestyle. Even if they were criminals, the actions taken -- or not taken -- by local and Federal law enforcement and the Fire Department were unconscionable, a military massacre in broad daylight in front of the entire neighborhood and the world.

Mayor Goode, Police Chief Gregore Sambor, and the Fire Commissioner, William Richmond, refused to intervene or make any effort to save lives or homes as they stood by and let the fire destroy all the houses on both sides of Osage Avenue and more on the next block of Pine Street -- leaving 250 people homeless.

Although MOVE eventually won a civil suit and monetary damages against the City, no one has been held accountable, i.e., suffered any criminal charges or jail time for this murderous assault and criminal negligence.

I can’t help but wonder had we raised more hell about this official terror THEN, would a very similar, even more deadly assault on the Branch Davidians at Waco, Tx., in April, 1993, have taken place eight years later?

On that fateful morning, I was aghast on waking up and turning on the television in time to see the Waco fire starting to deliver huge plumes of black smoke from burning structures. I kept waiting to hear the sounds of fire alarms and was shocked that there simply were none as the world watched this incineration unfold on live TV, knowing people were burning alive.

The similarities are stunning. There was the FBI/police siege, disputed gunfire (including allegations that the military Delta Force was illegally involved), the firing of military, pyrotechnic tear gas canisters that started the fire (a fact covered up for at least six years), a Fire Department NOT called upon to extinguish the fire or save lives, and finally the deaths of 88 children, women and men, followed by trial and conviction of the surviving victims.

Both groups were religious, communal, independent of government, and international. They both believed in their constitutional right to bear arms in self defense and held the system in contempt.

One is reminded of the old saying, “If they come in the morning...”

They did come in the morning of May 13, 20 years ago, for the Africa family. They came back in the evening for the Branch Davidians.

But MOVE marches on in its struggles to expose this corrupt system and win the release of its political prisoners, eight of whom remain incarcerated on the trumped up charge of murdering a police officer during a 1978 assault on its home. Even the judge in the case noted he had no idea who fired the fatal shot. All evidence points to “friendly fire” coming from fellow policemen. Yet nine MOVE members were jailed and given sentences of up to 100 years each. Merle Africa died in prison of questionable cause, leaving the other eight still doing time after 26 years.

MOVE continues to battle for the release from Pennsylvania’s death row of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the brilliant reporter who had the courage to speak out and report on the police brutalities against MOVE members prior to the 1985 bombing. He has now spent nearly 24 years unjustly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, suffering death-threat torture (Two death warrants were signed.), among other deprivations, especially the no-contact separation from loved ones. Nevertheless, Mumia continues to report truth to the people through his commentaries and publications, including four books.

Pam and Ramona Africa spearheaded an international campaign that has galvanized support for Mumia and the MOVE 9 throughout the nation and the world. Their campaign is undoubtedly responsible for Mumia still being alive.

Let us mark the 20th anniversary of this horrendous attack on MOVE and tragic loss of 11 lives with renewed commitment to the struggle for justice, the release of political prisoners, and revolution.

All power to the people.

 
At 3:38 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

The self deception in the above posts are mind numbing. O.K. lets review the facts about James Ramp AGAIN...He was killed with a gun from the MOVE house, by a MOVE member in the MOVE house, and was bought by a MOVE member who was in the MOVE house. It's not that hard, just follow along.

Ramp was shot down by cowards who hid behind women and children as he was struggling to assist a fellow officer who himself had just been cut down by MOVE gunfire. He was not killed as a result of "friendly fire".

Fact is, that there were Officers and fireman all around the MOVE compound, when MOVE members opened the initial sustained burst of fire. Officers were facing different directions when hit, and some like Ramp, were in motion when struck. The fact that you would use the fact that one officer was struck in the buttocks as "proof" of "friendly fire" just shows how pathetic and desperate that you are. Don't you think that if it was a coverup that they would have covered this up as well.

Are you really that gullible?

Don't you think it odd that if all of these Officers and Fireman were felled by "friendly fire" that they might have said something in the past thirty or so years?

Don't you think that they would have thought they had a pretty decent lawsuit on their hands. A couple of police officers had to retire because of their injuries. Do you think they would have just settled for disability and a pension when they could have sued the whole damn city?

And it isn't like the entire press corps didn't witness the incident. Nearly all of them said the same thing, that MOVE started it. The Inquirer which had been all over Frank Rizzo police corruption and brutality. And before you tell me that the media was somehow in on the "conspiracy", please explain the video of Delbert Africa. It wasn't Mumia who took the film of that beating. It was a "mainstream media" T.V. Station

Those cops and fireman know exactly who shot them. They know what direction that they were facing when they were shot by MOVE and they know where they were shot. These were the same witnesses who testified to seeing MOVE members in the basement with guns and who reported muzzle flashes coming out of the basement.

And just so you know, it wasn't me who came up with the police "conspiracy", it was John Africa and MOVE.

I am really starting to get why you come on here and post anonymously. Your stuff is downright pathetic. If I were you I wouldn't want anyone to know what a fool I was either. Boy, MOVE has really taken you for a ride on the bullshit-mobile, haven't they?

Do yourself a favor and wake up to the fact that these people have lied to you about nearly everything. Let them go, trust me, you will feel better.

 
At 12:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand why cops and firefighters are lying and not telling the truth. Look at Faulkner. He was about to expose the corruption of the police dept. and was murdered for it. Fear is what keeps the BS going.

 
At 7:08 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

Do you realize how utterly insane you sound right now?

 
At 9:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, lack of intelligence is what keeps the B.S. going.

So after three decades all of these cops and firefighters are gonna stay silent about getting nearly killed by their own men? How stupid can you possibly be?

Hey man, remove your head from your rectum and realize like everyone else has that MOVE is running a big game on you and all the other people who are crazy enough to follow them aroud on their silly misadventures

 
At 8:45 AM , Anonymous jon Pisano, StakeOut Unit said...

Mr.Anonymous, what you posted regarding Faulkner and the Police and firefighters at 33rd and Pearl, is an out and out fabrication on your part. I was at 33rd and Pearl in 78 and attended some of the Faulkner murder trial. Mumia Abu Jamal murdered Faulkner, that is an AFFIRMED FACT..no bs.

When you post..put a name behind your lies or don't you have the B...s

 
At 8:59 PM , Blogger Tony Allen said...

Now everyone has seen just exactly why I allow anyone to post comments on this blog. I wanted people to see just how unhinged and seperated from the truth, MOVE supporters and members are. I wanted to prove that they by and large are not interested in debate and that those few that do have, no real facts or points to make, outside of repeating played out and discredited propaganda.

The MOVE cult exists off of its own zealatry and the ability to out yell and out scream and out profane their opponents. They are stripped of those advantages here and cannot thrive in an enviroment where they cannot intimidate their opponents.

Moreover, every time one of these not so "anonymous" pro-MOVE posters makes a comment, they have to know that I am allowing them to do so. They have to know that unlike their MOVE comrades, that I am unafraid of confronting their deciet and can readily expose their deceptions.

Why do you think that MOVE does not come on here and defend themselves? Because they know that they cannot win here, because they know that I know the truth about them and who they are, and more importantly what they do....

 
At 4:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did the MOVE members remove their fingerprints from the "brand new" weapons recovered from their home before being beaten by police? Get the facts straight first before issuing such a ridiculous account which become irrelevant since you can not possibly have a reasoning for this actual account. Then again you fools come up with the stupidiest ideas based on lies and attempt to persuade people who are not aware of this crime persecuted by the "ppd"

 

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