Move Philly Essay

1605 words - 7 pages

After having gathered a few different possible topics, I have narrowed it down to a paper about criminal justice in the city of Philadelphia. More specifically, I decided to discuss the MOVE Organization. After my collection of research, I found that the MOVE was more than a neighborhood being burnt to the ground. Mainly that the people apart of the police department intended to systematically take down the members of the MOVE Organization and anyone who supported them. I want to make the case that the police already decided the fate of those people, and that the members of the MOVE Organization were just misunderstood.

For those who do not know what the MOVE Organization is, it is a ...view middle of the document...

(The importance of row houses comes up later)

The bad blood between the MOVE Organization and the police department started in 1978. Mayor Frank Rizzo was known for his racism and brutal acts in the city of Philadelphia, which has followed him from the police department into the mayor’s office. Mayor Rizzo called for an operation to take down MOVE. The police department tore down the fence that surrounded the home of the MOVE members. Police officers began throwing tear gas in their home, which almost suffocated the adults and the babies, who were all located in the basement. Four water cannons from the fire department pumped ten-thousand pounds of water pressure per minute. Forced to evacuate the basement the adults took the animals and the children upstairs to avoid drowning, while outside the police were having a shootout. Officer James Ramp was standing above all of the MOVE members on street level, where he was struck by a bullet at a downward angle. So there is no way a MOVE member could have shot James Ramp, because they would have to shoot upward. As the adults ran out of the building to escape the tear gas, they were beaten and arrested. A few hours after the shooting, the home was demolished by city officials, even though it was the scene of the crime and they were legally obligated to preserve all evidence. According to one of the members, “We went to trial before Judge Edward Malmed who convicted all nine of us of third degree murder (while admitting that he didn’t have ‘the faintest idea’ who killed Ramp) and sentenced each of us to 30 – 100 years in prison.” Recently seven of the nine found guilty are now eligible parole, but all were denied parole. It is perceivable that the people of power have a strong resentment for the members in the MOVE Organization.

Although the MOVE Organization was acquiring a negative reputation, the people who publicly supported MOVE were being violated their rights. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former member of the Black Panthers and strong supporter of the MOVE Organization. He is known as “the voice of the voiceless”. Mumia Abu-Jamal was wrongly convicted for the murder of Daniel Faulkner in 1982. This created more tension between MOVE and the police department. Mumia was known as one of the “new breed” journalist. “New breed” journalist would expose police misconduct. In an article, Mayor Rizzo is quoted, “‘They [the people] believe what you write and what you say,’ said Rizzo, ‘and it's got to stop. One day--and I hope it's in my career--you're going to have to be held responsible and accountable for what you do."’ Apparently Rizzo got what he wanted, because on December 9, 1981 Daniel Faulkner and Mumia Abu-Jamal were found shot. It is said that Mumia was arrested at the scene, brutally beaten, and taken to a hospital, which suspiciously took thirty minutes to arrive. Odds of a fair and just trial were against Mumia Abu-Jamal when Judge Albert F. Sabo was appointed to the case. Judge...

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