Let the Fire Burn (2013) Movie Script

Michael, uh, you remember me
from the last time you and I talked?
About a week ago?
You see this camera?
You're going to have to say "yes"...
so that camera can take down
everything you say.
Because that camera can't take down
something when you shake your head.
Can you say "yes" for us?
Let me hear you say, "yes." "Yes."
That's pretty good. How about a
little bit louder than that? "Yes."
And we talked about what happened
on the 13th of May?
- You remember that?
- Yeah.
Now, Michael, do you know what it is to,
uh-to tell the truth about things?
You're gonna have to say "yes."
You can't shake your head. "Yes."
Okay. What does it mean when you
have to tell the truth about things?
- Don't lie.
- Don't lie. That's right.
And do you know what happens
to people who lie?
- Hmm?
- Yeah.
- What happens to them?
- They get hurt.
They get hurt.
Yes, the big story on Action News tonight
is the effort to evict MOVE...
from its house
on the 6200 block of Osage Avenue.
The effort has turned into a disaster.
The fire is now five-alarm,
still raging out of control as you can see.
An unknown number of heavily-armed
MOVE members continue at large,
possibly roaming the alleyways.
Going in, everybody knew
that MOVE would resist anything.
While the police will say that
they come here to arrest people,
we have done nothing wrong.
We do not want policemen killed.
We do not want people in the house killed.
Fellow officer, James Ramp,
was killed seven years ago.
They will never forget that.
Okay. This is unconfirmed.
We've got to emphasize this is unconfirmed.
But Channel 10 technician,
Fran Hardy reports-
An incendiary device
was dropped out of that helicopter.
Nobody around here has ever
seen anything like this.
We expect that maybe 60, perhaps more,
homes have gone up in flames.
I stand fully accountable
for the actions that took place tonight.
How did an attempt to arrest MOVE members
become an inferno that killed 11 people...
and destroyed 61 homes?
You can call the group reactionists,
revolutionaries, terrorists.
That was a decision...
to let the fire burn.
On May 13, 1985,
years of conflict between
the city of Philadelphia...
and a small, urban group
known as MOVE...
ended in a violent,
daylong encounter...
between the groups' members
and the Philadelphia police.
It was one of the most devastating days
in the modern history of the city.
Before we call the first witness...
I want to tell you
about this special commission.
We are men and women,
black and white,
guided by our own attitudes
and beliefs.
What we hope to accomplish
is to begin healing the wounds...
caused by the failure to resolve
conflicting lifestyles in a peaceful way.
Six, five, four, three...
This is MOVE, the people in an organization
that admits to being totally revolutionary.
For the past four years,
they have lived in the
Powelton Village area
of West Philadelphia,
often running into conflicts with police.
Their personal appearance
has brought stares and
some expressions of disapproval
from the community.
But it what they do that counts,
not how they look.
In everything from work habits to
child raising, MOVE is revolutionary.
Uh, I was indoctrinated with a philosophy
in the Panthers...
that revolution only meant picking up a
gun and going out and murdering somebody.
I never thought that revolution
consisted of revolutionizing myself...
to get away from the things
that caused me to wanna revolt.
MOVE does not believe in technology.
They use a wood-burning stove for heat,
and they have no electricity.
But they do have cars,
and they have a telephone. Why?
All the answers are in the guidelines,
their bible left by John Africa.
Miss Sims, can you describe for me
what the philosophy of MOVE was?
What did John Africa
teach with regard to the
society in which you
found yourself living?
You're asking what was being taught?
Yes, ma'am.
Okay. Um, the absolute truth.
We were being taught
about this system.
The corruption in this system.
But mainly, it was...
just the absolute truth.
What John Africa did was...
expose the lie in the system.
Uncover it.
Could you describe what you mean
by the word "the system", please?
The system.
The establishment. You.
Philadelphia is a tortured city.
Trash piles up at the curbline.
Kids are afraid to walk to school.
Abandoned homes
pockmark the ghetto.
Philadelphia needs a strong man
for a tough job.
Philadelphia needs
Frank Rizzo as mayor.
A small, vocal minority among us...
seeks to destroy
the heritage of 1776.
We must be ever-vigilant that this minority
does not impose its philosophy...
on the unwilling majority of Americans.
In their vigilant effort to maintain
close contact with mother Earth,
the MOVE members are breaking up the cement
of the sidewalk around their property.
Yeah, life.
But you are not animals. I mean...
- Why not?
- I don't want to be personal.
- Wait a minute. Why not?
- Yes, we are.
We are animals, because our reference is no
different than the reference of animals.
There's only one reference,
and that's life.
That's what MOVE is about.
Life. Truth. That's our religion.
We see John Africa in the same way
that people saw Jesus Christ...
because of his carpentry, because of his
simple way of living, and so forth.
Now, we know that John Africa is a man
who can explain Jesus Christ.
When Reverend Audrey Bronson wants to
practice her religion, nobody beats her up.
But when MOVE wanted to practice their
religion, people started talking about, uh,
"it's not done that way."
There are Catholics and Methodists,
evangelists, theologians, you name it.
We were the religion of life.
Where is it written that we could not
have a religion of our own?
Your brother, Vincent Leapheart
was John Africa, is that correct?
My brother, Vincent Leapheart,
was my brother.
John Africa was the founder
of the MOVE organization.
And they were one and the same?
I said my brother was my brother.
And I said John Africa was
the founder of the MOVE organization.
John-Vincent Leapheart
is my brother.
When Michael was about two years of age,
he was taken by his mother...
to a residence occupied by members
of an organization called MOVE.
And Michael was subsequently
given the name of Birdie Africa.
Michael Ward was, of course,
no more a member of MOVE...
than a child of Republican
or Democratic parents...
would be styled by
a particular party label.
He was throughout,
an absolutely innocent,
guiltless, and under the circumstances,
vulnerable child and youngster.
Now, when you go to school
and you embrace that education,
the very first thing you are
taught in school is separation...
is categorization,
alienation, conflict.
You're taught black, white,
blue, green.
Up, down, back, forth.
Taught, uh, Protestant, Catholic.
Taught Yale, Harvard.
Conflict. War.
You know, if a child does not know
that he is black and I am white,
if he is not taught
that categorization,
if he is not taught
that separation,
In the place of that,
all he can gravitate to,
all he can know is harmony,
is unity, is love.
Life! Life!
- Did you like raw food?
- Some of it.
Some of it?
What did you like particularly?
Watermelon, mangoes...
and sweet potatoes and onions.
And onions.
Did you all eat any meat at all?
Only one time
we ate raw chicken.
Why would the adults eat
cooked food and the
children not eat cooked food?
Do you know?
They said they wasn't
used to raw food.
They weren't used to raw food
and the children were used to raw food.
Were you all ever punished
for taking the food or anything?
Yeah. Did they punish you
when you...
- They had meetings on us.
- They had meetings?
Would they ever hit the children?
Uh, so you didn't get any spankings
or anything like that?
- They didn't believe in spanking.
- They didn't believe in spankings.
I see. Did you, uh-When they holler at
the children, what would the children do?
- Cry.
- They would cry?
- Did they ever holler at you?
- Yes.
- Did you cry when you were hollered at?
- Yeah.
- Did they-Did they say they loved you?
- Yeah.
Did you love them?
I came in contact with MOVE
back in 1974.
We had a number of rap sessions
with youngsters...
in terms of trying to offer
a different point of view.
Did they appear to you
to be violent at all?
No, it basically appeared to be a
progressive, uh, political organization...
pretty much concerned
about the issues...
that impacted
on the black community.
Officer Cresse, was there any indication
that you were aware of...
that, uh, the MOVE members
were potentially violent?
Other than being, uh, vocal,
no, sir.
They can put out weird things
like you can hear me use profanity.
But is it possible to describe a maniac,
a profane, obscene, pornographic freak...
without using profane words?
Do you have information concerning how
many arrests occurred involving MOVE?
There was 141 demonstrations.
There was 97 court cases.
There was eight meetings,
and there was 193 arrests.
I have as just as much right...
and my brother got just
as much right to speak as you.
So what you doin' arrogantly
gaveling us down?
- This is not a forum for your political views.
- What is it?
- Do you understand that?
- Do you understand that I was brought here...
because of my beliefs,
because of my views?
I object. I think the witness,
at this point,
is badgering the judge.
They were, in fact,
telling the truth in the courtroom,
and because the judge
could not dispute it,
because the judge had went
to Harvard and Yale and Cornell...
to learn what law was.
They could not understand
how a people could stand there,
looking as they did, but yet knowing
more, in fact, than they did.
And this called for many contempts,
many beatings in the courtroom.
And it was like a repeat
over and over again.
Officer Cresse, directing your attention
to approximately March 30 of 1976,
what, if anything occurred during
that time period with regard to MOVE.
Twenty-four-hour surveillance was
established at the MOVE compound...
at 309 North 33rd Street.
Around the same time,
was there any, um,
situation that arose
with regard to an infant?
Yes, sir.
Could you describe that, sir?
Just bear with me, please.
On March 28 of this year,
at about 4:00 in the morning,
some MOVE members were returning from
one of many sentences in the city jail.
The MOVE people say
they weren't making a lot of noise.
But someone in the neighborhood
complained to the police.
What happened next is
the beginning of a
controversy that has yet
to be investigated.
Somehow an argument
led to a scuffle.
Police reinforcements
were quickly on the scene,
and MOVE put up resistance.
By the time it was over,
six policemen reported injuries,
six members of MOVE were arrested,
and later, it was found that
three-week-old Life Africa,
one of the MOVE babies, was dead.
We went upstairs
to inquire reporters there.
And we saw-
We were led into a dark room,
and we saw what appeared to be
the remains of a baby.
And it was their contention
that this baby had been killed...
in a police raid.
Subsequent to that, I introduced
the resolution to the city council,
calling for an investigation.
It never took place and I felt at that time
that the MOVE people were being harassed...
and that it was a racial problem.
Shortly thereafter,
I received some letters...
from the people who live
on 32nd and Pearl Street.
And they indicated that
they were displeased
with MOVE, and they
wanted to meet me.
And I went to the meeting
expecting to see...
mostly Caucasian people
complaining about MOVE.
And I was surprised
when I entered the home...
that most of the people there were-were
black people, just ordinary black people.
And for the first time I realized
that it was not a racial problem with MOVE.
But that it was something else
that I just did not understand.
And then I learned that unless you did
everything that they wanted you to do,
uh, you were an enemy.
On May 20, 1977,
MOVE brandished weapons...
from their Powelton Village
headquarters platform...
saying, "No longer will we be beaten
or intimidated by the police...
without a like response."
To your knowledge, did any
of the members of the
MOVE organization ever
possess any weapons?
- Not to my knowledge.
- Nor mine.
Have you ever seen the pictures
of May 20, 1977, at Powelton Village,
where people are carrying what appear,
at least, to be weapons?
Yes, I have.
Were those members of
the MOVE organization?
Yes, they were.
Were they weapons?
I don't know.
I don't want anyone to think
that I'm insulting their intelligence,
but when you have anything like that,
regardless to what it looks like,
if it is found inside of
the house or not found
inside the house and
it is brought out...
and it is found to be inoperable,
it is found not to work at all,
as far as I'm concerned,
it's not a weapon.
But let me be clear.
This can be a weapon.
But I'm talking about to the point
of a weapon that can fire.
It's just like you said.
What appeared to be weapons.
In my view, it seemed
to suggest a turning point.
It was the point
which it became clear...
that MOVE, in fact,
could become a violent organization.
Uh, would, in fact, fight,
would, in fact, use weapons
in order to accomplish their mission.
They named the game.
And I assure you, they lose.
We'll do what's necessary.
- What is that?
- The strategy of John Africa.
- What is that?
- Our only defense.
- What is that?
- The strategy of John Africa.
You aren't tellin' me anything. You're just
saying "the strategy of John Africa."
Hey, I wouldn't tell my strategy to you.
We ain't talkin' about hurtin'
nobody's religion.
We ain't talkin' about killin'
off nobody's religion.
Rizzo is talkin' about
religious persecution.
Don't question the person
tellin' the truth.
Question the person
that's tellin' the lie.
All right!
Only in a democracy could they get away
with what they're getting away with.
People are people regardless
of their color, their skin,
their religion, their race or nothin'.
They're still people.
They can bleed. They can die.
They can catch diseases.
We can all go through the same situations.
It's unnecessary for all of that.
I really think it's unnecessary.
And it's all going to
boil down to a bunch of
people getting hurt and
killed over nothin'.
Over nothin' that doesn't really
make any sense.
At 6:10 a.m., Mayor Rizzo finally,
after 15 months of confrontation,
used the force he threatened all along.
The police will be in there to drag
them out by the backs of their necks.
They're going to be taken by force
if they resist.
If police come in there with their hands,
we'll use our hands.
If they come in here with clubs,
we'll use clubs.
But if they come in here shootin' and
killin' our women and children and our men,
we will shoot back
in defense of our lives.
I've learned one thing as a policeman.
You never underestimate your opponent.
You always get in there faster with more
than is necessary, and you overpower them.
Stakeout personnel, using body shields,
cover fireman as they position a portable
deluge gun closer to the compound.
Shots have been fired!
Officers and firemen are
wounded by gunfire.
First deluge gun goes out of control.
Other officers and firemen
move in to pull the wounded personnel...
out of the line of fire.
Officer Ramp, shown here
lying on his back,
has now been mortally wounded.
Officer Hesson, also wounded,
crawls over and attempts
to shield officer Ramp.
Mr. Rendell, um,
did you consider the MOVE organization
to be a terrorist group?
They had demonstrated
a past history of violence.
Uh, they had demonstrated
a willingness to use violence, force...
or the threat of violence or force
to achieve their objectives.
It was almost difficult,
if not well nigh impossible,
to deal with them
in any rational basis...
that their stated goals
as a group that was a
back-to-nature group were,
frankly, a bunch of bull.
People who have killed one person,
injured several others, people who
threaten to blow up people's houses,
people who threaten to shoot and kill
neighbors, police, elected officials-
I think that's a pretty adequate
description of the word "terrorist."
With every step of the way,
including the final act today,
the police used commendable restraint,
uh, and it was done for many reasons.
Most of all because of the children
who are present today.
There had been much concern
on the part of many people...
that the police would make
a violent assault on the MOVE members.
As it turned out, the police
acted with precision and restraint.
When one of the MOVE
members came out of the
window with a cartridge
case in one hand,
a clip and with a knife in the other,
he was hit on the top of the head
with a steel helmet...
and was taken into custody.
That's what you're referring to.
He's hittin' him. He's hittin' him.
Hittin' him on the head.
Kickin' him on the head!
I have no idea. I couldn't see.
- Cops, you're makin' a mistake doin' that.
- Your ass they are.
The police probably would have been
legally within their rights...
to have killed all of the 12 people
in that basement.
Do you believe
this is a symbolic gesture,
tearing their house down at this point,
the very day of the shootout?
I think behind it is
the question we gotta ask is why.
There's a suspicion that some shots
had come from elsewhere.
Walt Hunter from WCAU,
by the way, swears that
a shot was fired going
in this direction.
People who know us
know that we're not terrorists.
We fight cops because they're dirty.
They're filthy. They're criminal.
The sad part of it is
that this incident is not yet over.
There will still be misguided voices
in the community...
seeking clemency
for these criminals.
Long live MOVE!
Long live revolution!
Long live John Africa!
it's the MOVE organization.
What they should have done
is shot that goddamn bum,
and then there would have been
no trouble today.
This police department in Philadelphia
could invade Cuba and win.
What I'm saying, Tom Snyder, is that we are
now trained and equipped to fight wars.
Four more years, hell no!
No more Rizzo! Got to go!
Four more years, hell no!
All of us, from all neighborhoods,
from all walks of life...
can solve the problem
facing our city.
Leapheart was asked how he felt
when the verdict was read.
What are your plans in
terms of staying in
Philadelphia and trying to
continue the MOVE cult?
It's not a cult.
It's an organization.
When you appear to be different...
you become angry,
and you will do things
out of the norm.
Did you ever think about leaving MOVE?
- Uh, when was that?
- A long time ago.
A long time ago?
Why did you want to leave MOVE?
'Cause we couldn't do
what other kids do.
You couldn't do
what the other kids did?
Uh, what were the other
children allowed to do
who were outside of MOVE
that you couldn't do?
Uh, play with toys and stuff
and ride bikes and watch TV.
Did you tell anyone
that you wanted to leave?
Who'd you tell?
Oh, we told-
We told each other.
This is a blue-collar neighborhood.
And any given summer day
you have the children,
uh, playing in the streets.
You have a mother
maybe sitting on the steps.
Neighbors talking to each other.
And all of a sudden
on their loudspeaker,
you'd hear a voice
would come out and say,
"You motherfuckers.
What the fuck are you doin' out here now?"
Do you know
what's going on here?
You son of a bitches around here
fuckin' everybody up.
"What the fuck is goin' on?"
Anything that was vile,
they would go into it.
The filth-it was-it was...
unbelievable that something like this
could be in someone's mind.
It's one thing to be two blocks away
and hear it.
But to live right next door,
full blast in our bedroom.
I watched my wife many nights
lay there in that bed and cry.
Wasn't nothin' else she could do.
I think that, uh,
what we really hoped for...
was that some kind of way...
the city would find a way
to deal with the situation.
The only thing that was happening
is that MOVE was taking a stand...
against the injustice that has
been dropped on them...
by this administration
and the Rizzo administration.
MOVE'S principle has never changed.
MOVE'S mood,
I'm talking about bitterness now,
did change.
They made, in my view,
a conscious decision...
to aggravate residents to the point
was that the residents would, in fact,
demand for the city to take actions
to provide them with relief.
And in that regard, the city would be
forced into doing one of two things,
to engage in confrontation
or to engage in compromise.
There was a lot of hostility
between those two entities.
I think it must be researched
why the hostility was there.
Which two entities, Mr. Bond?
Uh, the city of Philadelphia
and the MOVE organization.
And as a pawn,
we were caught in-between.
And nobody, frankly, gave a damn.
I met with 15 residents,
uh, of Osage Avenue...
on Memorial Day, 1984.
At that meeting, I said to them...
that I will research as to whether or not
there is a legal basis,
uh, for the city to do something about
the problem that you have brought to us.
But also pointed out to them...
that the mayor does not
have the authority...
because he does not like,
or the neighbors do not like,
the way someone live...
to simply go in and evict the people
from their house.
We don't have those kinds of options
in this democracy.
Today, more than three dozen Philadelphia
policemen surrounded the building...
after a MOVE member was
spotted on the roof
wearing a hooded mask
and carrying a shotgun.
That standoff
lasted less than two hours.
Police did not enter the house,
and no arrests were made.
In the last several
weeks, their actions have
escalated tensions in
the neighborhood...
leading to tonight's situation.
When the individual was on the roof
with the mask and the shotgun,
my daughter was in our picture window.
And she said, "Daddy, what is the man
doing on top of the roof with a gun?"
And I didn't have an answer.
She asked, "isn't that against the law?"
And I said yes.
Well, I don't know how
you can say that for
a certain group of people,
the law applies...
and then another group of people,
that same law doesn't apply.
I think we were in the law
on an equal basis, if I'm correct.
You would see them dragging logs
from the park up the street.
You could see that the line
in the street...
from, I guess, the oil out of the trees
that they would drag up.
Wood would be stacked up
in front of the house at 6221.
There was so much of it
that we requested that they...
do something with it.
What was the response
to that request?
They responded
and put it on top of the roof.
- We used to play on the roof.
- You used to play on the roof a lot?
A lot of times.
- Now, you said something about a bunker.
- Mm-hmm.
How many bunkers were there
on the roof?
- Two.
- Two?
And do you know
what they were made of?
What kind of holes
did they have in the bunkers?
Like the bunker was halfway over the
roof like this, and you could look down.
You could see up the street
in the-all over.
Do you know what
those holes were for?
That bunker you see there
is kind of a toyish-looking thing,
and I will tell you on Osage Avenue,
it commanded the scene.
It overlooked and overpowered anything
you may-you can imagine.
It was awesome.
There's been talk that there
are explosives in this house.
Uh, is there any truth to that?
That's only people's,
you know, hallucination...
because they have
not been inside this house.
So they would not know
what is in this house.
What is in this house is the strategy
of John Africa that is very explosive.
Is it a confrontation?
It most certainly is a confrontation,
one strategized by John Africa
years and years and years ago.
Commissioner, could you tell us
what the lessons were...
that you felt were learned in the 1978
confrontation from your point of view?
From my point of view, sir,
was that MOVE was a group...
who was bent by virtue of their dogma
and by their actions...
of destroying civilized activity...
and ability to live in
a neighborhood peacefully.
Tonight, there are growing concerns
about the controversial group, MOVE.
City officials met today for the second
straight day to discuss strategy.
Sources reveal that Philadelphia's District
Attorney has now prepared the warrants...
that are legally necessary to evict
MOVE members from their home.
Once those warrants are signed by a judge,
action by police to evict MOVE
could come at pretty much any time.
Do you know a police officer
by the name of Delores Thompson?
Yes, I do.
Do you recall telling her that your
son Frank was ordered to attack you,
that you were beaten until
you started to vomit violently,
that Frank then placed a pillow
over your face...
and asked John Africa
if he wanted you to be cycled or killed...
and that John Africa replied,
"Not at this time?"
Did she tell you that I said that?
- I have her report of that conversation, Mrs. James.
- Okay.
Well, if she-Were you satisfied
with what she said?
- I'm asking you.
- Okay.
I heard rumors to the effect
that my son had beaten me.
I've also heard rumors
to the effect that
Wilson Goode put his
wife's jaw on a pulley,
that he beat the hell out of her.
Will you ask Mayor Goode that when he comes
in here if he in fact beat his wife?
And if not, why not?
If it is relevant that my son beat me
or whether or not he did beat me,
then I would say it is
just as relevant for you
to ask Wilson Goode
when he comes in here,
"Did he beat his wife?"
I don't think you're gonna
ask him that.
I really don't. But you should,
if you feel that it is relevant.
Mr. Lytton, I just want to make it
clear in my mind so that I understand.
Am I to assume that the bomb
was dropped on MOVE people...
because Frank beat his mother?
Ma'am, we're trying
to find out what happened,
- and we'll continue asking questions.
- Oh. Okay.
Of course, on Mother's Day,
the evacuation has been slow.
People had plans for today.
A few had decided that
they'd stay and not evacuate.
But police have now
apparently advised those
people that they think
it's best that they leave.
I hope that it's resolved quickly...
and have all confidence that the mayor's
going to be doing the right thing.
I wouldn't mind staying myself, you see.
But I was told to leave...
just 'cause he don't know what the
extent of this is going to be, you know.
What do you think?
I think-Believe it or not,
I think you'll have to kill all of them.
And neighbors have been told by police not
to return to their homes for 24 hours.
That is 22:00 tomorrow night.
Now, what will happen between now
and then remains to be seen, Charles.
And, Casey, some of the neighbors,
as they were leaving, said to me...
that as they were going,
leaving the neighborhood,
the MOVE people were sitting out
in front of the MOVE house,
the children in hand.
Perhaps that was a subtle or not-so-subtle
indication of what's happening here.
Did you consider, sir,
that at least in 1978,
the members of the MOVE organization
who were at the Powelton Village house...
had used their children, uh,
as if they were hostages?
No, sir, I did not.
You've said they came out
holding their children up as shields.
Uh, I'm not an expert
in police science,
but I think to the layman,
that might suggest that they were
using their children as a hostage.
That's why I'm asking you
why you did not consider that.
They were using them simply as a ploy...
and using that philosophy,
that feeling that we had
for the sanctity of children...
and everyone else,
to our disadvantage.
I do not want to wake up tomorrow morning
and find myself short one son...
because if this thing
kicks off, you're going
to have bodies strewn
every which way.
You're going to have children killed,
and you're going to have adults killed.
I am very much afraid you're
going to have blood-soaked streets.
Every one of us knew that there
was an extraordinarily high likelihood...
that someone was going to die.
We didn't know whether
it was going to be a policeman.
We didn't know whether
it was going to be a fireman.
We didn't know whether it was
going to be a MOVE member.
The worse dread of all
was that it was going
to be a child or a
neighbor or a bystander.
I don't know if anyone on this panel
has ever had the responsibility...
of saying "go" to a plan that you know
is going to cost human lives.
Until you've done that,
it's very difficult to gauge...
whether the city officials
were right or wrong in what they did.
Did you all have meetings where you would
discuss what to do if the police came?
Mm-mmm. Not us.
Not the children?
How about the adults?
How about the grown-ups?
They were to be upstairs by their self
when they had their meetings.
When they had their meetings?
How often
would they have their meetings?
- A lot of times.
- A lot of times?
Did you ever sit in on-Were you
ever in any of their meetings?
Do you ever know what
went on in those meetings?
What is a confrontation?
Do you know?
Like it was.
But what happens
when you have a confrontation?
When the cops come and stuff.
What did you believe they might have
had by way of firearms in that house?
We were led to believe that
they had automatic firearms.
I guess just as well
as equipped as we were.
And so based on what you believed they
had, then you went prepared to match?
- To match or better than.
- Or to have superior?
That's correct, sir.
We interrupt regular programming
for this special report.
I'm Dennis Woltering
with Harvey Clarke at 62nd and Vine...
where authorities continue
preparations for an
apparent confrontation with
the radical group, MOVE.
Let me tell you what's happened
so far this morning.
About two hours ago,
3:30 a.m.,
utility crews moved into the area,
shut off gas and electricity.
SWAT teams have been
converging on the area.
You can see a fire truck behind me with
a deluge gun pointed back that way.
It's aimed, apparently,
at the MOVE house.
It looks like the scene is set.
I got on my stomach,
and with the bullhorn,
I read the message.
And to be quite frank,
I was sweating it out.
What did Commissioner Sambor
say, do you know?
He was telling them to come out.
Did you hear him saying that?
What was the response
of the MOVE organization...
when you read the arrest warrant
that they vacate the premises?
That they would not surrender.
- Can you tell us what else they said?
- That they would kill us all.
And what else did they say?
Uh, they said that, uh,
that all of our wives would be widows.
And what else did they say
about your wives?
They said that our wives would be sleeping
with other men before the end of the day.
- Did they describe what other kind of men?
- Yes, sir.
Would you tell us?
They said that our wives would be sleeping
with black men before the end of the day.
Do you recall what your reaction was
to those statements?
I accepted it, sir,
as some of their rhetoric...
and attempts to incite the police
and myself to precipitous action.
The police went in
about five minutes to 6:00.
Just four minutes ago,
they pumped tear gas in...
which is in the area.
The police began a deluge,
which you can see here.
That water's actually
being pumped in...
about, probably, 50 yards
into the MOVE compound.
As you can see up the street,
Tom, if you just pan up there,
it's a very surreal kind of scene.
Very calm men standing around...
as the cloud of tear gas,
the haze, kind of begins to lift.
Here comes some more tear gas
down Addison Street.
This apparently has expanded...
to include the entire square block.
Perhaps when the cloud clears,
we'll know a little bit more.
What was the plan
for May 13, 1985?
The tactical plan, as I understood it,
was to remove the MOVE people,
all the people,
from the house safely.
That was the objective.
It was to be done by causing
a diversion on the roof,
inserting the insertion teams
on either side of the properties...
and by then inducing
an amount of C.S. gas...
in a sufficient concentration...
to make those people
come out of the house.
The police presence here
is not like it was the last time.
This is being handled
almost entirely by the stakeout unit.
There may have just been a gunshot.
The gunshots are starting right now.
It sounds like automatic fire, Steve.
There's quite a bit of it.
We can't tell, Steve, at this point
exactly where the gunfire is coming from.
Okay. Steve, at this point we're
being forced to leave our position.
- We'll get back to you as soon as we can.
- Let's go.
The police
are now moving Harvey Clarke.
- Who shot first?
- They did.
- How do you know?
- Because I was there.
I understand that.
Did you see muzzle fire?
- I'm just trying to determine how you have that knowledge.
- No, sir, I did not.
But one of the other teams reported
that they were receiving hostile fire.
- Did it sound like automatic fire to you?
- It did. Yes, sir.
And I take it you're familiar
with the sound of automatic weapons fire.
I've heard automatic-
Yes, sir.
Pat, as you can see, we have
reestablished our live signal.
Tremendous bursts of gunfire
have rang out...
in the area
of the 6200 block of Osage Avenue.
Walt Hunter has joined me.
And, Walter, what have you learned?
We have heard
several popping sounds here...
indicating that gunfire
is getting much, much closer.
But we don't know if the
guns you're hearing
are police guns, MOVE
guns or other guns.
About the only thing
we can confirm for you at this point...
is that clearly, based on the nature of the
shoot-out we're seeing here this morning,
MOVE did have some weaponry
either in the house or nearby.
As you know, Commissioner,
there were no automatic weapons
found in the MOVE house.
Do you know whether or not
the automatic weapons fire you heard...
was in fact from police officers?
The firing, as initiated by MOVE,
uh, was...
apparently automatic fire,
and I cannot explain it.
But I do not believe for one minute...
that it was the police
that were firing at that time.
Once the MOVE members started firing,
their status changed radically
in the eyes of the law.
They at that point
became forcible felons,
and there's a whole
different set of laws...
as to the apprehension
and the amount of force that can be used...
in the apprehension of and the prevention
of the escape of forcible felons.
- Including the children?
- No.
That's as to the adults.
We went downstairs.
Did the adults tell you
to go downstairs?
And where did you go
when you went downstairs?
- The garage.
- Into the garage?
- But where were the men?
- They were upstairs.
Do you know
what they were doing?
Now, we know that the children
wasn't doing any shooting.
- Do you feel that their rights-
- I did not know that the children were not shooting.
What-Would you say that if we had children
in there four, five, six years old...
that they would have been using
any type of weapons?
To my knowledge,
there was only one that young.
We would like to tell you
that the shoot-out is over.
We cannot say that definitively.
We can say there's been at least a 15-
or 20-minute break in the gunfights.
Here comes a police car
racing in right now at this moment.
This is a highway patrol car
racing into the scene.
We don't know
what this signifies.
We'd like to tell you it's over. We really
can't right now. There has been a pause.
There are indications that what has been
a tremendous gunfight is over.
Looking in the trunk of this car
right here.
There's more gunfire right now.
We're gonna crouch down.
As you were about to say, the police are
unloading, as you can see right now.
The police are unloading
Winchester cartridge shells...
from the back
of a highway patrol car.
Do you know how many rounds
were fired that day?
No, sir.
But I will say that, uh-
uh, we ran out.
Uh, we did not anticipate,
uh, the extent
of the confrontation,
uh, and ran out.
Uh, I don't know what time it was,
but it was some time in the morning.
What's happening is,
it's a shoot-out.
Oh, man, and those kids and all that-
The gunfire is as close as it's been since
the shoot-out happened this morning.
Let's-Let's come closer.
Let's come closer and use-and crouch
down behind the Eyewitness News truck.
Oh, my God!
Get down, lady. Get down. Yeah.
Stay in the house.
Stay inside.
I heard shots being fired,
and cops was in the alleyway.
They was like,
"Get in the house. Don't come out."
I was very, very frightened.
You supposed
to nip something in the bud.
If you see something's
coming, you're supposed
to sit down and try
to iron it out...
before something like this
comes to this stage.
It's war. This is war.
I've never seen it,
but I've lived through it today.
This woman-We can't determine...
whether she is a relative of one
of the MOVE members or not.
It appeared that things
had gotten calm.
And then as you heard, about a minute and
a half ago, another burst of gunfire.
This woman is now being taken
into police custody.
You're watching it live.
They are restraining her.
She is hysterical and is clearly upset
about what's going on in there.
Just trying to get her out of the danger
area where we are on the fringes right now.
Did you have a concern...
that the people
inside of that house...
might be in physical danger
or that their lives might be in danger?
We knew it.
- Miss-
- We-Excuse me.
We had-
You had 200 boot-kicking,
Gestapo-oriented cops
out there that day.
You had, that day, a police officer
by the name of Mulvihill...
who was in the 1978, uh, tragedy...
who was, in fact, one of the
officers who stomped and kicked...
and beat and bludgeoned...
and shot and helmeted
and kicked some more...
my brother, Delbert Africa.
So as I understand
your testimony,
you were concerned
that there may be physical harm...
to the people inside that house,
is that correct?
Would you turn up
your hearing aid, please?
I can hear you fine, Mrs. James.
- My question is-
- Well, then if you can hear me fine,
if you don't have a hearing aid,
I suggest you get one.
- Well, because-
- Excuse me!
Yes, ma'am.
To ask me...
"were we concerned"
is complete insanity.
By virtue of the fact that MOVE
had construction on the roof...
that was commonly
referred to as the bunker,
that gave them complete command
of the Osage Avenue,
access over the roofs...
they were in an enviable tactical position.
The water cannon used
during the MOVE standoff today...
shoots an estimated
1,000 gallons of water a minute.
Sources say the purpose
of the water is threefold.
First, to disorient
the people inside the house.
Secondly, the water increases humidity,
which makes tear gas more effective.
Thirdly, the powerful water pressure
could cause the house to collapse.
If that plan relied solely on the ability
of our equipment to knock the bunker off,
they knew very clearly up front
that we could not guarantee that, sir.
Chris, I saw Police Commissioner
Gregore Sambor about 45 minutes ago,
and he described his men
as, quote, "taking a break now."
They're obviously somewhat
startled by the way that
MOVE'S building at 62 and
Osage was fortified...
and able to take the water barrage and the
bullets that flew in there this morning.
Thousands of rounds spun off.
Larry, for the first time,
it's been quiet for several hours here.
The police helicopter did
go back up, and I guess
they wanted to take a look
at the top of the bunker.
We had reports-What you
see in front there,
the yellow tarp is the front
of that building,
and we were told
that that bunker was destroyed.
But it appears that it's still there.
Okay, Harvey.
They stopped the snorkel gun now.
- There's no water on that roof.
- For some time, the water has been turned off.
At City Hall this afternoon,
Mayor Goode appeared publicly for the
first time since the siege began.
Goode said he's committed
to removing MOVE from the structure.
We intend to evict from the house.
We intend to evacuate from the house, and
we intend to seize control of the house.
- How will you do that?
- We will do it by any means necessary.
Something is starting to happen.
There is a big-
The fire engine has fired up again.
Its engine is on
for the first time all afternoon.
We just saw some police officers behind
us have their hands over their ears.
We don't know why.
We can't hear anything at this point.
I must say that this
tiny little flurry of activity...
is really the first bit of activity
that there's been here all afternoon.
It's been very quiet.
Police say that they have a plan.
They say it will be implemented shortly.
We will tell you what
it is when it happens.
Reporting live from 62nd and Delancey, this
is Chris Wagner, Channel 6 Action News.
This device that was used-
You're calling it a device.
I'm calling it a bomb.
But did it ever occur to you...
that this might have
been a dangerous device
to use in a residential
Yes, ma'am.
- It did occur to you?
- Yes, ma'am.
By not vetoing it,
did you approve the plan
to use an explosive on the roof?
I think that I was fully aware
that it would, in fact, be used,
and it is my view
that you can regard that...
as an approval of using
the explosive on the roof, yes.
...right there in a 10-15 foot hover
above the roof.
And I was right on the left-hand side
of the helicopter right here.
Onto this corner
is where I finally came to a stop.
You were down in the garage,
is that right?
We was down there for a while,
and then everybody came down.
- All the men came down?
- That's when the big bomb went off.
It shook the whole house up.
Police say there has just been
a huge explosion here.
We don't know what it means,
but it just shook the whole place.
Debris flew all over the place.
I don't know what that explosion was.
All I can tell you
is that it was a huge blast.
Get a shot with me.
Get a sh-
- Harvey, can you hear us?
- At this point, I really can't tell you very much.
There was about a 15-second delay,
then an explosion.
Perhaps the most frightening thing here
is that police do say...
that six to eight children are believed
to be inside the MOVE house.
As soon as we find out what the
explosion is, we will try to tell you.
At this point, I simply do not know.
After the explosion, you saw that the
bunker was still there.
Yes, sir.
Did you observe any smoke
or fire on the roof?
I did not.
And-I did hear over the
radio that there was none.
It's easy to equate explosions
and explosive materials with fire.
But that's not necessarily so.
'Cause I think we've
all seen buildings
demolished, and it's used
all the time in mining.
So I don't think you
can just logically conclude...
if you're going to have an explosion,
you're going to have a fire.
There's no more smoke. And at this
point, looking over my shoulder,
the water barrage appears
to have ended again.
Okay, there is a new development
at the MOVE building, 62nd and Osage.
We'll go live right away
to Harvey Clarke at the scene.
- What's going on, Harvey?
- Larry, behind me you can probably see right now-
We'll push and try
to get a little tighter shot of it-
that the satchel charge, or whatever-
the explosive or bomb...
that was dropped on the MOVE compound
just a few minutes ago...
has apparently started
a serious fire.
But the two deluge guns or sprinklers...
that they've been pumping water in
from Pine Street are not active now.
I wanted to get the bunker.
I wanted to be able to
somehow have tactical superiority...
without sacrificing any lives,
if it were at all possible.
Commissioner Sambor said to me.
He said let's let the bunker burn...
to eliminate that high ground advantage
and the tactical advantage of the bunker.
And I said, "Yeah, okay."
it was not an order.
In essence, in communication-
I communicated to him
that I would like to let the fire burn.
Larry, this is becoming
a very emotional scene.
With me is Janice Walker.
She lives at 6217 Osage,
- just two doors from the MOVE house.
- Yes.
And you're afraid
that your house may be on fire.
I'm sure it's just destroyed,
and it's just not fair.
We've been there over 20 years, and we
didn't have to have to go through this.
We only left with a few odds
and ends, you know, for the night.
We had no idea it was
gonna be this devastating.
You've got innocent people that
live around there on Osage Avenue,
and they just, you know-
Their properties have just
gone up in smoke.
I saw initially a small fire on the roof.
I saw what appeared...
to be some water coming in.
I determined later
that that was not water at all...
but was basically the kind of snow
on my television screen.
And after about five minutes
of watching that,
I gave what was
my first order of the day,
which was "put the fire out."
You are aware that
the mayor has testified...
that at approximately 6:00
on the evening of May 13,
he ordered that the fire be put out.
I heard the testimony, yes, sir.
Do you know whether or not...
there had been any order
to put the fire out?
Yes, sir.
- Did you convey that order to anyone else?
- Yes, sir.
- To whom?
- The fire commissioner was still there.
To whom?
The fire commissioner was still there.
- Those responses were Commissioner Sambor, sir?
- Yes, sir.
I categorically deny that.
I had no knowledge
of an order to extinguish that fire.
Was there any smoke or tear gas
in the garage when you were down there?
- Or was there tear gas?
- It was smoke and tear gas.
Smoke and tear gas?
Did it bother you? Did it burn
your eyes or anything?
And what did you all do?
We was under the blanket
with our heads.
- Were all the kids under blankets?
- Mm-hmm.
- Where were the women?
- Under blankets.
They were under blankets?
Now, you said the blankets were wet.
- How did the blankets get wet?
- 'Cause we had 'em in the bucket.
Bucket of water.
Isn't it true, Commissioner Sambor
and fire Commissioner Richmond,
that you in effect made a decision
to use fire as a weapon in this instance?
Absolutely not, sir.
Well, you made a decision to let that
fire burn until the bunker was destroyed.
- Isn't that right?
- When you talk about a weapon,
you talk about a weapon as being
used against probably individuals,
and that was never a consideration
nor would I ever use it as a consideration.
Well, fire Commissioner Richmond,
what did you understand the police
commissioner was asking you to do?
I would respond in the same way,
Justice Kaufmann.
There is no one that I know
in city government...
that would intentionally go out there
to burn those people like that.
There's no one that I know of
could do that.
You were aware in 1978, I assume,
that a situation had developed...
involving certain police officers
and Delbert Africa?
Yes, sir.
Did you give any instructions...
as to whether or not
the officers who were
specifically involved
in that altercation...
should or should not be included
in the operation for May 13, 1985?
I did not.
Weren't you concerned that there
might be some revenge motive...
which may take the police action
beyond the legal limits?
I think there's no question
there was, at least
on the part of some
policemen, residual anger...
towards MOVE organization
or members thereof.
No question about that.
Would the court reporter
please swear in the witnesses?
Do you solemnly swear
to tell the truth, the
whole truth and nothing
but the truth...
- so help you God?
- I do.
Officer D'Ulisse, I understand that in
1978, you were present on August 8...
during an altercation
that occurred with Delbert Africa.
And officer Mulvihill?
What does that have to do
with May the 13th?
The officer was tried and found
not guilty of that offense.
That was going to be
my next statement, Mr. Mozenter.
Officer, we understand that you were
charged in connection with that case,
and also we understand
that there was a direct
verdict by Judge Dibona of
not guilty in that case.
- Is that correct?
- That's correct.
Stakeout police have just
taken position.
There must be movement
somewhere in the Osage,
and they're all scattering
between 62nd and Osage and 63rd.
They're running around like
something's going on around here.
These are live pictures.
They are looking for something there.
You can hear hollering. Where it was
coming from, Larry, I don't know.
When the fire got real heavy,
when we smelled all that smoke,
and we couldn't breathe,
then that's when we started
yelling that "kids coming out,"
and then they opened the garage door
and opened the cellar window.
What did you say?
What did you yell?
We were saying,
"We wanna come out!"
"We wanna come out?"
And what did the other children do?
Did they do the same thing?
- Were any of the children crying?
- Yeah. We all was.
- Why had you all gone to the back alley?
- To prevent the escape of MOVE members.
Well, what did you expect
to find in that alley,
the reason why you took
a machine gun back there?
I had no idea what to expect in the alley.
Do you solemnly swear
to tell the truth...
- and nothing but the truth so help you God?
- I do.
Your vantage point
was to the back of 6221.
- Is that correct?
- Yes.
All right.
Was there any time...
that you observed
either with your eyes or your ears...
people attempting
to come out of that house?
I heard a female scream,
"Don't shoot. We're coming out."
At that time officer Trudel
who was at the rear window.
Officer Trudel said,
"They're coming out."
if you look carefully,
by the way, if you can
take a look so I can point
to the monitor here,
right here is a line
of stakeout squad officers,
and they seem to be lined up at the
ready waiting for something to happen.
They seem to be waiting for something
to come out of that house.
You said that Rad
tried to take Tomaso out?
He was on his knees, and he had
Tomaso around his stomach like that.
On his knees?
Was he crawling along the garage floor?
Rad was.
Now, when they did come out,
I see the smaller child come out,
and then an adult male
come out right behind them.
And he stood up and aimed a rifle up in the
direction of officer Bariana's position...
and fired, like,
four or five quick shots.
Did Conrad
have a rifle or a gun...
when he went out the garage door?
What did he use
to open the bolt on the door?
A big monkey wrench.
A big monkey wrench?
Are you certain it was a rifle and not a
monkey wrench or something of that nature?
No, sir. When this-
I know a rifle, believe me.
And when this male
pointed this rifle up,
I- in other words, I could hear sound
and see muzzle flashes.
Now, you say that some shooting started.
Did you hear shooting?
It was a-
Like it was just going after-
Like it was going-Bullets were
going after each other. Like-
Bullets were going
one right after the other.
- Something like that?
- Yeah.
Sergeant Griffiths, could you
just by rapping on the table...
indicate the sound the best
you can recall of those shots?
It was not automatic fire,
if that's what you're asking.
Okay, could you just try and indicate
for me what it sounded like?
Did you ever fire your weapons after the
bomb was dropped, officer Mulvihill?
No, sir.
- Officer D'Ulisse?
- No, sir.
He had two officers taking him out,
and then they started shooting again,
and then they brought him back in,
and then they locked the thing back up.
Did you see the child
actually go back into the house?
I believe the child
went back into the house.
All right.
Do you have any idea why that person
may have gone back into the fire?
My own idea? What I think?
I just think
they went back into that fire...
sort of to regroup.
just as a human being myself...
I'm just trying to imagine myself
in that situation...
and behind me
there's a raging inferno...
and in front of me there are people
who are saying "come on out."
I'm trying to imagine...
what would cause me
to turn back and run into the fire.
I don't think we said anything
other than come down to us.
Come on down
with your hands up-
the normal police jargon
for calling the suspects to come down.
I'm just saying that I'm trying to
put myself in that person's skin.
Sir, I don't think you ever could.
These were MOVE members.
Well, you see,
I knew a lot of those people...
as individuals
and as human beings.
A lot of people know MOVE
from what they may have seen.
But I had a lot of dealings with them,
and I knew them to be more
than MOVE people.
I knew many of them by name,
as human beings.
It's probably
a rhetorical question.
I don't think you, from
the way you've
responded, I don't think
you can answer that.
No, sir.
And then
what happened to Tomaso?
Rhonda was going like this on his back.
- Rhonda had Tomaso?
- Mm-hmm.
And she was hitting him
on his back?
Was he crying then?
He had stopped crying?
Did you hear him cry anymore...
after she was trying to pat him
and hit him on his back?
Only one time.
- And then what happened?
- He stopped.
He stopped?
And then what happened?
I didn't hear nobody,
and I just ran out of there.
Oh, my goodness.
Well, Larry,
the flames are probably
now leaping, um,
uh, 10 stories high.
It just looked like something
was completely engulfed.
What you're seeing now-
You're telling me that the flames
are now leaping high?
I remember Ramona coming from the rear of
the MOVE yard over the fence and down.
She had started
to walk down, stopped.
And she would wave
with her hand like this.
And then I see Birdie.
The way I describe it, it looked like
he literally came through the fire.
There was a board on fire there,
and he hopped over that
and he started coming down.
What did you see
when you first ran out of the house?
I saw fire and stuff.
You saw fire?
Where did you see the fire?
The tree was on fire,
and the house was.
And the house was on fire?
How about on the ground?
Was anything on the
ground on fire?
The pieces of the tree
was falling down.
Pieces of fire from the tree
were falling down?
Did the adults tell you what to do
if you all got out of the house?
They told us to stay together.
Ramona's up top.
- She's on the walkway, the elevated walkway?
- That's right.
Birdie's in the driveway.
Now, as they're coming down,
Ramona's a little bit in the front.
But at one time
does Ramona stop...
and she goes over to the railing and
reached over and tried to pick Birdie up.
He got I believe one foot,
maybe two, I don't know,
on the bottom of the concrete wall
where the fence meets.
And she either let go
or slipped or whatever.
But Birdie fell back.
He went back.
And I remember he didn't get a chance
to put his hands down to break his fall.
The impression I was left with-
He landed square on his head.
If you're watching somebody
or somebody falls...
and you hear a thud,
you can almost feel it.
That's the same sensation
I think we all got,
that we knew Birdie
was hurt at this time.
It was an actual feeling.
We could all feel it.
I remember Birdie just laying there,
not doing anything.
I said, "Tommy, here. Take my shotgun."
I said, "I'm gonna go get the kid."
And I remember him saying to me,
"I'll cover you."
- Officer Mellor saying that?
- That's right.
At one point
did I start out to get Birdie,
and that's the first time
I realized officer Tursi was behind me.
He grabbed my left shoulder. He said,"
Don't go out there, Jim. It's a trap."
What was your concern, officer?
I don't know how to explain it
other than a sixth sense or something...
that there was something wrong
in the way Ramona went down.
I just felt something was incorrect
or not right about that situation.
I stopped him from going out
right at that time. That's all.
I was scared to death. I just didn't
wanna let that kid lay there like that.
So what did you do?
My priorities at that time were the kid.
We're trying to say to him,
"Son, come over here. Come over here."
We're trying to get him to come to us.
This is the result
of officer Tursi saying be careful.
"It's not right" or
something to that effect.
"It doesn't feel right."
inadvertently, Birdie gets up.
I remember him taking a few steps
and went down in the water.
He fell?
I interpreted it as a fall
or stumble or whatever.
As soon as he went
down in the water,
at the same time that I seen that,
officer Tursi's right with me.
I said,
"Mike, I'm getting the kid,"
and he said,
"I got you covered."
I remember I went in
underneath with my right hand,
and I scooped him
underneath his left arm.
Was his head
submerged under the water?
I don't remember.
As soon as he hit the water, I went.
I remember as soon
as I scooped him up,
he said to me,
"Don't shoot me. Don't shoot me."
When the police got you
after you finally got out,
did they ask you anything
about whether or not
there were any kids
still in the house...
or were there any other
grown-ups still in the house?
- You said there were other kids still there?
- Mm-hmm.
Do you remember who it was
who was still in the house?
Tomaso and Melissa,
and the big people
were Theresa, Rhonda,
and Rad and C.K.
Ramona Africa, the MOVE spokesperson in
recent weeks, is in police custody tonight.
She was captured
outside the MOVE compound...
sometime after the massive fire
broke out there this afternoon.
The child being treated
here at Children's...
is suffering from second-and
third-degree burns on his arms and legs.
All officials know at this point about his
identity is that his last name is Africa.
All night long,
an increasing number of firemen...
have been trying to battle
what is now a six-alarm blaze.
There's a lot more water
being trained on it,
but it looks as though this is going
to burn for a long, long time.
We had a difficult problem.
We made a difficult decision.
It did not turn out as we intended.
As we face the coming days,
I ask your prayers for our city,
for the homeless families...
and for the families
of those who've lost lives.
In the beginning, MOVE people...
were the most happiest bunch
of people you could ever know.
We were a family, peaceful, loving.
And in the beginning,
MOVE was harassed a great deal.
We were beat many, many times.
We were jailed
many, many times.
And I'm talking about a people...
who had feelings,
who are no different than you or I.
If the system can convict me
of riot and conspiracy...
in a blatant situation like that...
where it's obvious to everybody,
the whole world, that I did not riot,
then it should not be hard
to imagine at all...
why and how this system convicted
nine people of murdering one cop.
It's the same thing,
that the system had one intention
in both confrontations,
to either kill MOVE people
or to put us in prison as long as possible.
It's just that simple.
Was it like being in a war?
There's just too many things are going on,
to sit here and just say how you felt.
We felt- I thought about
the kids in the house.
I thought about my kids.
I thought about a lot of things.
But to sit here- I don't know.
- I couldn't answer that.
- Mm-hmm.
I am, uh-
I've, uh, been sitting here
listening for many days...
and I've read scores of pages
of reports and testimony.
And it has all been. All of it.
Uh, very depressing...
and very discouraging...
except what I've read
about officer Berghaier...
and what I've heard
from officer Berghaier.
And if there's any hope
in this whole sorry situation,
it's because of that officer,
and I wanna thank him.
Thank you, sir.
I think you've done
such a good job.
I'm gonna stop
my questions now,
and I wanna thank you for taking all this
time to come in here and chat with us.
That will bring a smile
to your face, won't it?
And I wanna thank
your dad, Mr. Ward.
- Thank you very much for your cooperation.
- You're quite welcome.
- And Mr. Shrager, of course.
- Thank you.
This will conclude
this deposition of testimony...
of Michael, uh, Ward.
As of today,
you the people,
have all the principal facts...
which tell the story
of the Osage Avenue tragedy.
Rarely has any community
ever subjected itself...
to a public self-appraisal...
as painful and necessary
as this has been.
But we believe that this process
is absolutely necessary...
to prevent such a terrible thing
from ever happening again.
And now I declare
these public hearings...
to be in recess until further notice.