IN FLAMES: The police bombing resulted in 11 dead and 61 homes burnt down
IT'S AN event that still has bitter memories for many in Philadelphia's black community. Osage Avenue was the site of a stunning use of force by city police. After a long standoff, on the morning of May 13, 1985, police dropped a bomb on the headquarters of a radical group called MOVE, sparking a fire that gutted a neighbourhood and left 11 people dead. Five were children.
MOVE was a radical cult-like group that preached revolution, advocating a return to nature and a society without government, police or technology.
Frustrated neighbours who had complained about the group turned to city officials for help. Dozens of Philadelphia police, fire fighters and city officials amassed around the MOVE house to force the group out. A standoff ensued, as MOVE members bunkered down inside the house and it's alleged exchanged gunfire with police outside. At 5:30 that evening, a Philadelphia police helicopter dropped a bomb onto the roof of the house in an effort to drive MOVE members out.
Four hours later after a fire raged from the bomb blast, 61 houses on the block were gone, and everyone inside the MOVE house, except for Ramona Africa and a 13-year-old boy, was dead. See this video to hear what led to this shocking event.