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Move Survivor Appealing Ruling

Sun., Sept. 29, 1996, midnight

Lawyers for MOVE survivor Ramona Africa are appealing a federal ruling that released two former top city officials from paying damages - $1 a week - for the 1985 fire that killed 11 people.

A civil trial ended in June with a jury ordering former Fire Commissioner William Richmond and former Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor to pay the weekly dollar for 11 years to Africa and the mother of a man killed in the fire.

Richmond was assessed an additional $1 per week for 11 years for punitive damages involving the death of John Africa, who founded MOVE, a radical, mostly black group.

U.S. District Court Judge Louis Pollak dismissed those payments Aug. 28, saying Sambor and Richmond did not show “willful misconduct” and were therefore immune from financial liability under Pennsylvania law.

Africa’s attorneys filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court Thursday.

In May 1985, after police and MOVE exchanged gunfire, officers dropped a satchel-bomb from a helicopter onto the roof of the house. The bomb, which was intended to open a hole for tear gas, started a fire that burned out of control.

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