Press Release: Petition Demanding “No To Parole For The MOVE 9" Sent To Parole Board
(Pic Of "The MOVE 9" Mugshots)
For Immediate Release 4/14/3008
Contact: Tony Allen
On April 14th, 2008, a petition bearing the names of over 2,500 people will be sent to the Pennsylvania Board of Parole that demands that the eight surviving members of the “MOVE 9" not be granted parole.
The eight members of the MOVE cult who are in jail and up for parole are about to reach their minimum sentence of 30 years of a jail sentence of 30-100 years. They were convicted in 1981, of conspiracy, numerous charges of attempted murder, and for the murder of Police Officer James Ramp. The trial, which at that time was the longest and most expensive on record for the City, was held in the courtroom of Judge Malmed who opined at the proceedings that he found the idea of rehabilitating MOVE members “absurd”.
The charges and subsequent conviction of these MOVE members stemmed from the 1978 shoot-out that occurred when Police Officers attempted to arrest a number of MOVE members at the cult’s Powelton Village Headquarters. After the Police and other mediators attempted to solve the situation peacefully, firefighters began to use fire hoses in order to compel the MOVE members who had barricaded themselves in the basement. A short time after the hoses were turned on, MOVE members opened fire and a number of Police Officers and Firefighters were struck. Officer James Ramp, a veteran Officer and who had survived the wars in Korea and World War Two, was shot and killed as he attempted to aid a fellow Officer who himself had been wounded. A gun retrieved from the MOVE house that had been purchased by a MOVE member was linked to bullet fragments in Officer Ramp and the trajectory of the bullet proved without a shadow of a doubt that Ramp was felled by a MOVE member in the basement of the MOVE house.
This MOVE instigated confrontation had been the culmination of years of ever increasing tension between MOVE members and their neighbors who objected to the cult’s lack of hygiene, brandishing of weapons, assaults on people in the neighborhood by MOVE members, and the concern that what had started as small band of eccentrics was turning into a full-fledged terrorist group.
The imprisoned MOVE members became the focus of the cult’s outside actions. Mumia Abu-Jamal, who would later be put on death-row for murdering another Philadelphia Police Officer considered the “MOVE 9" to be heros and he spent a tremendous amount of time visiting and advocating the release of these convicted cop-killers right up until the time he was arrested for the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner. During his trial, Jamal attempted to employ the tactics of his MOVE heroes and repeatedly insisted that the cult’s leader, John Africa, serve as his attorney. Today, Jamal’s most fervent allies are his comrades in MOVE, and a key player in the “Free Mumia” movement is MOVE member, Pam Africa.
The incident that MOVE is primarily known for, the May 13th 1985 MOVE “confrontation” that ended in the death of eleven members and the destruction of a city block came about as MOVE employed terroristic tactics in an effort to “bring home” their imprisoned members. It is a little known, but important fact, that all of the children who died on May 13th 1985 were children of these same imprisoned MOVE members.
In 1998, one of the “MOVE 9", Merle Austin Africa died in jail, leaving eight MOVE members remaining in jail, scattered throughout the state’s penitentiaries, where they continue MOVE’s mission of exposing people to the teachings of the cult’s late founder, John Africa. These MOVE members have violated prison rules on numerous occasions, leading many of them to be placed in administrative segregation for months at a time. There were other occasions where MOVE members assaulted prison staff and some of them were involved in the infamous “Camp Hill Riots” in the 1980's.
It is worth noting that not only have these cult members not renounced their dedication to MOVE, but they also have never taken responsibility for the crimes they committed. Moreover, they have taken an active role in perpetuating the myth of their innocence as they have dubiously claimed that Police Officer James Ramp was killed by fellow Officers. The imprisoned MOVE members have also worked to recruit new adherents into the cult as they develop personal relationships with individuals and groups interested in finding out more about the group. As a martyrdom cult, these imprisoned members are critical components of the sect’s allure and mythology.
Ironically, it was a former MOVE supporter named Tony Allen who started the petition to keep his former comrades in prison. Tony met the imprisoned MOVE members in 1996 as he began corresponding with them via letters and phone calls from jail. As his involvement with MOVE grew, so to did his relationship with the “MOVE 9". He would eventually visit all of the jailed MOVE members and he spoke out on their behalf and wrote dozens of works of propaganda extolling their virtues.
After a good deal of research and finally looking at both sides of the issue of MOVE’s guilt or innocence, Tony could no longer look away from the obvious and had to accept the fact that the imprisoned MOVE members were imprisoned for the crime of which they were convicted of and were not “political prisoners”, as it has been alleged.
Having come to the realization that he was wasting his time and life in MOVE and saddened by the realization that those whom he considered to be family to him were in fact murderers, Tony was finally compelled to extricate himself from MOVE after the killing of former MOVE supporter, John Gilbride
Leaving MOVE in 2004, Tony now seeks to educate the public about MOVE, including the child abuse that occurs within the group, as well as the circumstances of the death of former MOVE supporter, John Gilbride. Tony has exhaustively chronicled MOVE’s transgressions, past and present on his website themoveorganization.com and his blog at antimove.blogspot.com
The online petition he started was supported by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police. Radio hosts Michael Smerconish and Dom Giordano had Tony on their shows to discuss the case of the “MOVE 9" and his petition.
The 2,500 plus signatures came from around the country, although most came from the Philadelphia area. Many were from Police Officers who had endured MOVE’s confrontations and were emphatic that not only was murdered Officer James Ramp not forgotten, but neither were any of the other victims of MOVE. What is also reflected in the petition is an awareness of the violent and deceitful nature of Philadelphia’s most hated cult. And while this batch of signatures is being sent out, the petition will stay up and people can still sign it as a way for people to have their voices and sentiments heard and as a symbol to remind people that while MOVE presents itself as a band of perpetually persecuted, freedom fighters, they are little more than common killers with a warped ideology that is supported by people who are either ruthlessly cynical or utterly naive.