The Move Factor

There is undoubtedly a link between Mumia Abu-Jamal and the violent anti-government, anti-police group known as MOVE. Headed by a man named John Africa, MOVE was headquartered in Philadelphia’s Center City. Most of MOVE’s members lived together in a single row home in Philadelphia’s inner city area. For several years preceding the murder of Officer Faulkner, MOVE’s members had been in constant conflict with their neighbors, as well as various Philadelphia City officials. According to comments made to local media by residents who lived adjacent to the MOVE home in 1978, Move’s members were armed to the teeth and they would threaten any person who violated the rules MOVE had established to govern the neighborhood. MOVE allowed mountains of trash to pile up in front of their home attracting vermin to the neighborhood and throw buckets of human waste from their windows. Additionally, MOVE’s members used a loudspeaker system to blast the militant rhetoric of John Africa from their windows around the clock.

In the spring of 1978, MOVE staged a lengthy hunger strike. Local activists visited the MOVE headquarters in their Powelton Village home and determined that the MOVE members participating in the hunger strike were also starving their children. Arrangements were made to have food delivered to the home for these children. MOVE’s leaders first accepted this food, and then threw it back over the fence that surrounded their home. On August 10, 1978, the police were asked to extract the children from the MOVE home. As they attempted to do so, MOVE members began firing at them. When the shooting stopped, Police Officer James Ramp had been killed. Nine MOVE members were tried for Officer Ramp’s murder. All were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

According to Jamal’s friends and co-workers, he openly began to espouse the teachings of MOVE founder John Africa while at work. The trial and the sentences handed down for Officer Ramp’s murder enraged Jamal. According to the station’s general manager, Jamal lost all semblance of objectivity as a reporter. Due to his outspoken and inflammatory rhetoric at the station, coupled with several work related violations, Jamal was fired from his part time radio job at WUHY-FM. He failed to find new employment in local media. As stated by many of his colleagues, by 1981 he had become a local media pariah whose professional and personal life had begun to unravel.

Mumia Abu-Jamal had not worked as a reporter for nearly a year, and had taken to working as a cab driver to make ends meet, on the night he murdered Officer Daniel Faulkner

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Without the support of Justice for Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, the Faulkner family – and specifically Maureen – could not afford to keep up the vigilant fight.