Philadelphia’s health commissioner has resigned under pressure after confiding to city officials that he had authorized the cremation and disposal of remains from at least one of the Black Philadelphians who were killed when the police dropped a bomb on a rowhouse where members of the communal, antigovernment group MOVE lived in 1985.
The bomb, which the police had dropped from a helicopter, started a fire in the house, and the police ordered firefighters to let it burn. Eleven people, including five children, were killed, and more than 60 nearby homes were destroyed.
The episode has for decades been held up as an example of the city’s mistreatment of Black people, and the revelation that unidentified remains from at least one of the victims had been discarded without regard to the family’s wishes touched off fresh waves of pain and anger.
Many residents and activists believe city officials have never been held accountable for the bombing and burning of a middle-class, mostly Black neighborhood in West Philadelphia. In 1988, a grand jury cleared officials of criminal liability for the death and destruction resulting from the bombing.
The cremation was disclosed on Thursday, exactly 36 years after the bombing, by Mayor Jim Kenney, who said he had learned on Tuesday that it had been carried out in 2017, during his first term in office. He said he had apologized directly to members of the Africa family, who are still active in MOVE, and had ordered an investigation into the episode.
Mr. Kenney said he had […]
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