By Linn Washington Jr.
Like many young people during this unusually energized political season Eddie started a petition campaign.
Politics definitely drives the petition started by this 13-year-old Southwest Philadelphia resident.
But his campaign has nothing to do with presidential candidates or any others seeking political office.
Eddie’s petition involves his grandfather; a man currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison yet is now eligible for release on parole.
Eddie wants his grandfather home.
“I did the petition because I ain’t seen him since I was a baby,” Eddie said recently during a conversation in Center City. “I don’t think his incarceration is right.”
Eddie’s grandfather is serving a 30-100-year prison term for the fatal shooting of a Philadelphia policeman three decades ago this August.
Eddie’s grandfather is Eddie Africa, one of the MOVE 9 convicted for the death of Officer James Ramp during the violent clash with police in the city’s Powelton Village section on August 8, 1978.
Based on actions by the state’s Board of Probation and Parole last week, it doesn’t appear that Eddie will see his granddad come home any time soon.
Last week this Board denied parole to three female members of the MOVE 9.
That ruling means more prison time for Debbie Africa, Janet Africa and Jeanene Africa. (All MOVE members adopt ‘Africa’ as their last name.)
Board members based their denial on four rationales according to published reports: refusal to accept responsibility; showing a lack of remorse; denying the nature and circumstance of the offense; and receiving a negative recommendation from the prosecuting attorney.
This parole denial pleased Philly’s tough-as-nails DA Lynne Abraham who stated in a statement that the imprisoned MOVE members “should serve as much time as possible.”
While Abraham, in her statement, criticized this trio for never expressing regret for the death and injury on 8/8/78, a statement issued by the MOVE organization blasted the Parole Board and prosecutors for imposing unjust standards.