It happened a long time ago.
August 8th, 1978, to be exact. Over 35 years ago.
That’s when Philadelphia police raided the MOVE house and headquarters in Powelton Village, West Philadelphia, firing hundreds of rounds of gunfire into the home.
Remarkably, when MOVE people were forced to exit the building, they were mostly unharmed, with several suffering severe beatings upon exiting the premises.
After months of trial, 9 MOVE men and women (5 men and 4 women), were convicted of 3rd degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 100 years imprisonment.
Never before in Pennsylvania’s long history has such a sentence been rendered, but as the late trial judge, Edwin Malmed stated, “They were tried as a family; so I sentenced them as a family.”
That was 35 years ago, and today, MOVE men and women remain in jail – 5 years past their minimums. It doesn’t matter what their prison behavior or record is. They have been exemplary prisoners.
But, because they remain MOVE, parole, essentially, doesn’t apply.
Oh, they have hearings. But nothing comes of it, besides more denials.
They were attacked for political reasons; prosecuted for political reasons, and sentenced the way they were for political reasons.
Their innocence? Irrelevant.
And now, 5 years past parole. Politics, again.
Who can deny that they are political prisoners, persecuted because of their religious belief in the Teachings of John Africa?
In truth, they are spiritual prisoners: imprisoned because of their faith.
It is past time for their freedom.