Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

MOVE members denied parole

Seven people convicted in the 1978 shoot-out with police will remain behind bars.

All seven MOVE members up for parole this spring after 30 years behind bars for the 1978 shoot-out that killed Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp have now been rejected, a spokesman for the state Board of Probation and Parole said yesterday.

The last two MOVE members who were currently eligible - Delbert Orr Africa and William Phillips Africa - were informed of their rejections this week. "Both of them were refused," said Leo Dunn, the board spokesman.

Deputy District Attorney John Delaney said he hoped they all remained behind bars.

"They are where they belong, and we hope they stay there for as long as possible," said Delaney, who had urged the board to reject the parole requests.

The final MOVE member incarcerated in the 1978 incident, Charles Sims Africa, will be interviewed in November, and Dunn said a decision is likely by sometime in December.

The eight were among nine members of the radical group convicted in 1980 of third-degree murder in the shooting death of Ramp and the attempted murders of seven others injured that day. The ninth defendant died in prison.

The shoot-out occurred when police sought to evict 12 adults and 11 children from their headquarters at 33d and Pearl Streets in Powelton Village.

MOVE began as a radical back-to-nature group but has evolved into an organization that supports people it believes are political prisoners. It is not an acronym, and all members use the surname Africa.

The 1978 confrontation set the stage for another disaster - the May 1985 fire that killed 11 MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed 61 houses in West Philadelphia.

Even now, litigation stemming from the fire is ongoing.