Frank Africa reads of Rizzo’s starvation ultimatum
©Urban Archives, Temple University
Police set up a 24-hour watch around MOVE's headquarters to arrest members when they came off the property.
On June 12, 1977 Sue Africa left the premises and was apprehended a few blocks away. The other members remained at the house as months passed and police continued to watch and wait.
MOVE had filed a $26 million civil suit against the city for the March 28, 1976 death of Life Africa and the brutality leading to miscarriages from 1974-76, but the standoff prevented MOVE plaintiffs from attending the hearing and the suit was thrown out of court. While the standoff continued, some Philadelphia politi-cians and reporters went to the Virginia area, where MOVE's farm was located, and spread slanderous misinformation among people on adjoining properties by describing MOVE as a group of drug-taking cannibals who would slaughter everyone's livestock. The rumors set off a rash of complaints to the Realtor who demanded that MOVE pay off the entire mortgage at once. Unable to raise the full sum, MOVE lost their farm.
Rule 1100 of Pennsylvania Criminal Procedures sets a time limit of 180 days within which to either execute an arrest warrant or file for an extension. On November 20th, the deadline on the MOVE warrants passed. The next day the DA's office filed a late request for an extension. (They may have forgotten to file on time or were just accustomed to bending the laws when prosecuting MOVE.) Judge Edward Blake granted the untimely extension. (Blake became the Common Pleas Court President Judge in 1991.)
Throughout the standoff, mediators and negotiators from a number of community coalitions and intervention agencies relayed messages between the city and MOVE in an attempt to come to a peaceful settlement. But talks always broke down over the issue of releasing MOVE political prisoners. MOVE would not compromise. Their demand for Robert, Conrad, Jerry and Sue's freedom was absolutely non-negotiable. Mediation went nowhere as city personnel were telling MOVE, off the record, "We'll kill all of you before we let your people out of jail." A federal agent who had begun lurking around the barricades likewise informed MOVE that the Feds were going to infiltrate, disband and destroy them.
Move… Who they are ?
"Video / 6 min / Couleur" ©2011 - "In Prison My Whole Life" de Marc Evans