Next Steps in Mishandling of MOVE Victims’ Remains | Philadelphia Caller

PHILADEPHIA - The recent week has been a roller coaster involving MOVE remains, first being reported as cremated and then found. In the wake of all this confusion, the Philadelphia mayor has made the following statement regarding what’s next.


 

Philadelphia's Mayor Speaks on Move Remains

“I appreciate that the latest news generates more questions than answers for the public. Our Administration is committed to uncovering these answers through a thorough independent investigation. As this investigation gets off the ground, the following is also underway:

  • As I’ve said previously, it is abundantly clear that improvements are necessary related to the Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO). We will be engaging experts in this field and are reviewing best practices, especially as it relates to racial equity. An overhaul of MEO policies and procedures is undoubtedly on the table.
  • We are engaging diverse stakeholders related to how the MOVE bombing is commemorated in our city over the long term. This latest unfortunate incident will not be in vain if we use it as a catalyst for finally doing right by the victims of the MOVE bombing and their families.
  • We are initiating a national search for a permanent Health Commissioner. We will continue to support Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole as she steps into the role on an interim basis. This recent development does not change anything relative to Dr. Farley’s resignation.

“The painful anniversary coupled with the mishandling of some of the victims’ remains renews the traumas of 1985 for many. During this challenging time, I want to remind Philadelphians: You are not alone. Help is available. The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services stands ready to support individuals and communities with a wide range of programs and services. Learn about some of our trauma and resilience services at DBHIDS.org/boost. Community Behavioral Health Member Services is available 24/7 to answer questions and help identify resources at 1-888-545-2600. As always, anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should call 215-685-6440 immediately.

“We are getting to the bottom of many different disturbing questions, including why these remains were held for decades and why they were still held after being directed to be cremated. The remains can finally be returned to the next of kin and handled respectfully moving forward. I am committed to continuing to work closely with the Africa family and their representatives as this investigation continues.”

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