Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

The 1985 Move Incident

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The aftermath

Osage avenue, days after the MOVE confrontation. Courtesy of Philly.com.

Though comprising an enormous sum of documentary evidence, the entire PSIC report might be reduced to its statement that "dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable." The children's deaths "appeared to be unjustified homicide," the report said, and the actions of Police Chief Sambor and Fire Commissioner Richmond were "grossly negligent." The hearings, which lasted eighteen days, "provided a shocking picture of confusion and indecision in the high command" (People). A concurrent investigation launched by the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the police department had been surveying the MOVE compound for over a year and a half and undertaking tests on explosives for weeks. (The Inquirer also reported that one of the explosives dropped on the house, Du Pont's Tovex TR-2, was explicitly designed "to be used underground for mining and quarrying, not in the open.") Under testimony the police department bomb unit invoked the Fifth Amendment, but Sambor maintained his defense, stating that "any approach on May 13th would have presented an immediate and deadly danger…[MOVE] announced that morning that they would never surrender and that they would kill as many of us as they could." Ramona Africa declined to testify.

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