MOVE 9 member Delbert Africa released from prison

Charlotte Reese
January 19, 2020 - 9:28 am
Delbert Africa was arrested after a 1978 shootout with police that claimed the life of Officer James Ramp.

Courtesy of Brad Thomson

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — MOVE member Delbert Africa is now a free man after spending 42 years behind bars. He was one of nine members arrested for the death of officer James Ramp in a 1978 shootout with Philadelphia police.

Chicago-based attorney Brad Thomson broke his client's news on Twitter, saying, "Delbert Africa of the #MOVE9 is free!"

Thomson also posted photos of the 73-year-old Africa's 1978 arrest, along with pictures of his reunification with family members.   

Nine members of the the radical group were given 30- to 100-year sentences. Two died in prison, and six were eventually released, including Mike Africa Jr's parents.

"My Uncle Chuck is the last remaining member of the MOVE 9 that we're still trying to get out of prison," said Africa Jr, who was born in prison after his mother was arrested. 

Africa Jr. related his excitement over Delbert's release. "I can't be more happy to see Delbert out of prison," he said. "And while he has this little bit of life he has left to enjoy it with his family and to spend some time and get some closeness with his family. I think that's absolutely fantastic."

In a statement given to KYW Newsradio, Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said, "When days like this happen, our hearts ache for our fallen hero James Ramp and his family as they’re re-victimized every time a MOVE member is released from custody.  We will never forget James Ramp and the other victims."

Ramp was a 30-year veteran of the police department, and had also served in the military.

Four other officers, five firefighters and three bystanders were injured in the West Philadelphia shootout.

In 1985, the bombing of the MOVE compound on Osage Avenue killed 11 people, including five children. One was Delbert Africa's 13-year-old daughter. He is expected to hold a press conference Tuesday in Philadelphia. 

Related: 2 more members of MOVE 9 released from prison