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Thomas Farley delivered the final, ugly insult to the MOVE family, and now he’s paying the price

First, the Philadelphia Police bombed the MOVE house, killing 11 people, including five children. Then the bones of one of the children was shuttled between the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton, and finally, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley decided to cremate and dispose of some of the remains without telling the family.
From the outset, these Black people were treated like animals, not human beings, and in the end, their Black bodies were treated like objects, like things, like trash to be disposed of by a system that never respected their humanity.  This was racism from beginning to end, but Dr. Thomas Farley said he just made a mistake.

“Believing that investigations related to the MOVE bombing had been completed more than 30 years earlier,” Farley said, “and not wanting to cause more anguish for the families of the victims, I authorized Dr. Gulino to … dispose of the bones and bone fragments.” He said he made the decision on his own.

Whatever. Farley has been forced to resign, and Medical Examiner Sam Gulino, who allegedly acted at Farley’s direction, was placed on administrative leave “pending a full investigation,” according to Mayor Kenney, who also apologized.

But fixing this takes more than apologies and resignations. It requires systemic change. The police dropped a bomb in a Black neighborhood, killed 11 people, and no one in the department went to jail. And then, after the City of Philadelphia killed those Black people, their Black bodies were further abused.

Thomas Farley should’ve been gone months ago, when he allowed vaccines to go to Philly Fighting COVID, a group of college kids with no medical experience. But now that he has resigned, we must do more than replace Farley. We must replace the racist system that allowed him to be there in the first place.
Photo: Dr Thomas Farley By. Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet

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