Thirty years ago today, under Mayor Wilson Goode, police ended a standoff with the radical group MOVE by dropping an explosive device on the group’s fortified headquarters along the 6200 block of Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia.
Eleven people were killed, and more than 60 homes were burned to the ground.
But it wasn’t MOVE’s first run-in with police; the group had been clashing with authorities in the neighborhood for years. In 1978, police went toe to toe with MOVE, resulting in a shootout that killed a Philadelphia police officer.
I recently sat down with 6ABC television journalist Vernon Odom, who covered both confrontations.
“You cover confrontations all the time where criminals are trapped, but those are one-shot deals,” Odom said. “This was an ongoing fiasco that boiled over once, then, seven years later, it boiled over again.”
Odom recalled how the violence was particularly shocking, given how close it was to his home, as well as how reporting methods were different before the advent of cell phones and social media.