[Ppnews] MOVE 9 PAROLE: Young Teen Gets Jaded By Justice System

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 5 10:40:01 EDT 2008


MOVE 9 PAROLE: Young Teen Gets Jaded By Justice System
http://phillyimc.org/en/node/66687

by Linn Washington, Jr. | 05.04.2008

Last week’s Parole Board decision involving that 
MOVE trio (who’ve served time longer than the 
average third-degree murder case) underscores the 
pollution of politics in the justice 
system....The reason why so many people feel 
racism infects law, from police to judges to 
prisons, results from so many being jerked by the justice system so often.

YOUNG TEEN GETS JADED BY JUSTICE SYSTEM

By Linn Washington Jr.

Like many young people during this unusually 
energized political season Eddie started a petition campaign.

Politics definitely drives the petition started 
by this 13-year-old Southwest Philadelphia resident.

But his campaign has nothing to do with 
presidential candidates or any others seeking political office.

Eddie’s petition involves his grandfather; a man 
currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison 
yet is now eligible for release on parole.

Eddie wants his grandfather home.

“I did the petition because I ain’t seen him 
since I was a baby,” Eddie said recently during a 
conversation in Center City. “I don’t think his incarceration is right.”

Eddie’s grandfather is serving a 30-100-year 
prison term for the fatal shooting of a 
Philadelphia policeman three decades ago this August.

Eddie’s grandfather is Eddie Africa, one of the 
MOVE 9 convicted for the death of Officer James 
Ramp during the violent clash with police in the 
city’s Powelton Village section on August 8, 1978.

Based on actions by the state’s Board of 
Probation and Parole last week, it doesn’t appear 
that Eddie will see his granddad come home any time soon.

Last week this Board denied parole to three female members of the MOVE 9.

That ruling means more prison time for Debbie 
Africa, Janet Africa and Jeanene Africa. (All 
MOVE members adopt ‘Africa’ as their last name.)

Board members based their denial on four 
rationales according to published reports: 
refusal to accept responsibility; showing a lack 
of remorse; denying the nature and circumstance 
of the offense; and receiving a negative 
recommendation from the prosecuting attorney.

This parole denial pleased Philly’s 
tough-as-nails DA Lynne Abraham who stated in a 
statement that the imprisoned MOVE members 
“should serve as much time as possible.”

While Abraham, in her statement, criticized this 
trio for never expressing regret for the death 
and injury on 8/8/78, a statement issued by the 
MOVE organization blasted the Parole Board and 
prosecutors for imposing unjust standards.

MOVE’s statement castigates the Parole Board for 
demanding admissions of guilt as a condition for 
parole from persons who’ve “maintained their 
innocence from the very beginning
”

All of those MOVE members convicted for that 1978 
clash received the same 30-100-year sentence 
despite police testifying to only seeing the five 
male members with guns during that fatal clash.

The judge that found those MOVE members guilty 
after a non-jury trial justified slapping the 
same sentence on the men and women with the 
specious statement that since they went to trial 
“as a family” they should leave his courtroom with the same prison sentence.

This judicial stance sliced up the concept of punishment fitting the crime.

This judge also admitted publicly that after 
hearing testimony during that 19-week trial, he 
didn’t know who fired the fatal shot.

Who fired the fatal shot is a lingering question.

Police testimony during that 1980 trial stated 
the bullet that killed Officer Ramp and the 
bullets that seriously injured three other officers came from one gun.

Police never were able to link a specific MOVE 
member to the weapon they contend fired the fatal shot.

Further, the fatal bullet wound Officer Ramp 
sustained entered his back while he was facing 
the MOVE compound where MOVE members were huddled in the basement.

“How can my grandfather shoot a cop in the back 
if the cop is standing in front of where they say 
my grandfather was?” young Eddie wonders. “From 
what I’ve heard about what happen, the experience ain’t right!”

Just hours after the end of that August 1978 
shootout, then Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo 
ordered demolition of the MOVE compound on N. 33rd Street near Powelton Avenue.

This demolition constituted the destruction of a 
crime scene because it took place after a hasty 
police investigation of questionable thoroughness 
and before any independent investigation of the 
scene on behalf of MOVE members charged with crimes that day.

Further, this demolition violated an order issued 
by a Philadelphia judge a few days earlier 
barring city officials from razing the property for any reason.

Many thought the MOVE females would obtain parole 
given irregularities and their being unarmed.

Two female non-MOVE members also arrested on 8/8/78 did not land in prison.

Authorities dropped charges against one of the 
non-MOVE members for lack of evidence and the 
other female won a jury acquittal – again for lack of evidence of wrong-doing.

The Parole Board’s “blatantly unfair decision can 
only serve to validate the argument that the MOVE 
9 are indeed ‘political prisoners,’” contends 
local activist/journalist Hans Bennett, a 
supporter of MOVE and death-row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Last week’s Parole Board decision involving that 
MOVE trio (who’ve served time longer than the 
average third-degree murder case) underscores the 
pollution of politics in the justice system.

Last week’s decision by the NYC judge to acquit 
the three policemen involved in the fatal 
shooting of unarmed Sean Bell symbolizes this pollution.

That judge said he found the version of the fatal 
event presented the officers’ attorneys more 
credible than testimony of Bell’s two friends -- the victims.

A Philly judge acquitted the three policemen 
charged with the vicious beating of a MOVE member 
on 8/8/78 – a beating captured by TV cameras.

The reason why so many people feel racism infects 
law, from police to judges to prisons, results 
from so many being jerked by the justice system so often.

--Linn Washington Jr. is an award-winning writer 
who teaches journalism at Temple University. This 
article originally appeared in the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper.


--This article is also featured by Journalists 
for Mumia Abu-Jamal at abu-jamal-news.com and move9parole.blogspot.com






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