Thoughts on killer cops and the May 13th, 1985, MOVE massacre
By JAAN LAAMAN
Almost every day the news hits us with another case of a man, a youth, sometimes even a woman, shot, choked, or beaten to death by cops. Almost always the victims are people of color and usually the killer cop is white. We are hearing a lot more about these cases, and that is probably because the brutality and killings are captured on video. It is a lot harder for the government and mainstream corporate media to ignore these cases when the images are presented and seen on various social media platforms.
The sad and hard reality is that cops have been injuring and killing people, especially people of color for years and years. Many of us might remember the names of some decades old victims: Clifford Glover, Eleanor Bumpers, Rodney King, Sean Bell, so many other.
We are coming up on the 30th anniversary of probably the most horrid modern day police killing of 11 people, including 5 children. On May 13, 1985, the Philadelphia police surrounded and besieged the home of the Move Family in a Black neighborhood in Philadelphia. Move was and is a community and revolutionary organization that advocates for issues like natural and healthy nutrition, animal rights, opposition to government repression and corruption, including a long time exposure of and resistance to abuses and killings by the Philadelphia police department.
Art by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
On that May 13 morning, 30 years ago, the cops surrounded the home. First they fired tear gas, and soon they began shooting bullets into the house. Over 10,000 rounds were fired into that house. Neighbors and live TV media were watching this police siege and assault. After some hours the police launched an outrageous and horrible escalation of their assault. A police helicopter swooped down over the house and dropped a bomb on the roof. The bomb exploded sending pieces of the roof and house flying. The bomb also set off a fierce fire, which soon spread downward across the whole house. The fire also spread to the houses on both sides of the Move home. Although fire trucks were on hand, the cops refused to allow firemen to fight the fire. Ultimately the entire square block of 61 houses burnt to the ground. Dozens of families, over 200 people, had their homes and all their possessions completely destroyed.