Philadelphia Health Commissioner Asked To Resign Over Cremation And Disposal Of Bombing Victims Without Family Consent

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Gabrielle Temaat Contributor
Font Size:

Democratic Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney asked Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley to resign after disposing of bombing victims’ remains without the family’s consent, according to a Thursday press release from the city.

Farley cremated and disposed of the remains identified as those of 1985 MOVE bombing victims rather than identifying the bodies and returning them to their families, according to Kenney’s statement. (RELATED: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Allegations Inside Department)

“This action lacked empathy for the victims, their family, and the deep pain that the MOVE bombing has brought to our city for nearly four decades. As a result, I have asked Dr. Farley to resign, effective immediately,” Kenney continued in the press release.

The mayor’s administration has said it is also investigating Medical Examiner Dr. Sam Gulino and placing him on leave in the meantime.

Kenney’s statement detailed a meeting with the family of the victims to apologize for the situation.

“Today, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Africa family and apologize for the way this situation was handled, and for how the City has treated them for the last five decades. I also promised them full transparency into the outside review of this incident, as well as the handling — or mishandling — of all remains of every MOVE victim.”

Kenny also stated that the officials investigating the incident will be approved by the family of the victims. During the MOVE bombing in 1985, local government killed 11 black Philadelphia residents who were members of a liberation group.