The MOVE Commission wrote that "the firing
of over 10,000 rounds of ammunition in under 90 minutes at a row house
containing children was clearly excessive and unreasonable. The failure
of those responsible for the firing to control or stop such an excessive
amount of force was unconscionable."
Mayor Goode Refuses to Negotiate
As police ran out of ammunition and went to the armory for more, a quiet afternoon standstill began.
According to Philadelphia Tribune
columnist and Temple University Professor Linn Washington, Jr., MOVE
member Jerry Africa, who wasn't in the house, attempted to negotiate
with Mayor Goode during the afternoon standstill. He wanted to tell
Goode that MOVE would disengage from the confrontation if Goode would
agree to an investigation of the Aug. 8, 1978-related MOVE convictions.
Jerry Africa was supported and accompanied
by civil rights activist Randolph Means and former Common Pleas Court
Judge Robert Williams, who at the time was the Democratic Party's
nominee for Philadelphia District Attorney. According to Washington, the three
of them repeatedly tried to call Goode on the telephone, but he would
not take their call. Instead, Goode declared at a press conference that
afternoon that he was now ready "to seize control of the house"by any
Notably, Washington filed this story with the The Philadelphia Daily News, who he worked for at the time,
but it was not published.
Dropping the C-4 Bomb
At 5:00 pm, Managing Director Brooks
telephoned Mayor Goode and said that Sambor, in Goode's words, wanted to
"blow the bunker off and to blow a hole in the roof and to put tear-gas
and water in through that process." Goode's response: "Okay. Keep me
At 5:27 pm, a State Police helicopter
dropped a C-4 bomb on MOVE's roof, which exploded and started a fire on
Challenged at a press conference later that
week, Goode was unable to offer a straight answer: "If"someone called
on the telephone and said to me "We're going to drop a bomb on a house;'
would I approve that? The answer is no. What was said to me was that
they were going to use an explosive device to blow the bunker off the
top of the house."
Afterwards, Sambor continued to defend the
decision to drop the bomb by arguing that the bombing was "a
conservative and safe approach to what I perceived as a tactical
The MOVE Commission concluded that
"dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable and should
have been rejected out of hand by the mayor, the managing director, the
police commissioner and the fire commissioner."
The Commission also reported that "in January, 1985, an agent of the FBI delivered nearly 38 pounds of C-4, a powerful military plastic explosive, to the Phila. Police bomb squad. Delivery of this amount of C-4 to any police force without restrictions as to its use is inappropriate. Neither agency kept any records of the transaction. The FBI agent told the Commission that he "never had to keep any kind of records or anything' regarding C-4. Nor did the bomb squad keep any delivery, inventory or use of the C-4, or any other explosives under their control"Because of the absence of record keeping by the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department, all the facts of the use of C-4 on May 13 may never be known."
"Fire As A Tactical Weapon"
Initially, the fire was relatively small,
but it was allowed to grow until it was eventually so large and powerful
that it burned down the entire city block.
According to Mayor Goode, he first learned
of the fire "at about ten minutes of six," at which point he contacted
Managing Director Brooks, and ordered that the fire be stopped. On
behalf of Goode, Brooks told Police Commissioner Sambor over the phone
to extinguish the fire, but upon discussing it, Sambor and Fire
Commissioner William Richmond decided to continue to let it burn. Richmond would later claim that Sambor did not tell Richmond about
Goode's order. However, Sambor denied this and said that he did indeed
about Goode's order.