OCCUPY THE PGA 2016! Join and share the facebook event.


Write to Pinkney: Marquette Branch Prison, Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671, 1960 US Hwy 41 South, Marquette, MI 49855

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rev. Pinkney needs your help!

The legal battle to free political prisoner Rev. Pinkney continues, while he endures relentless harassment by racist guards at Marquette Branch Prison.

On May 11th supporters came from across the region to fill the Michigan Court of Appeals in Grand Rapids. Defense attorney Tim Holloway and Mark Fancher of the ACLU of Michigan both argued at length before a panel of three judges.

The next day, the judges issued an order putting the case on hold until the Michigan Supreme Court makes a decision on another election fraud case. There is no telling when the other case will be heard.

Nevertheless, the judges’ order provides a new window of opportunity to free Rev. Pinkney from prison on bond while the appeal proceeds. On May 16th, the defense team filed a motion for bond pending appeal and we hope for a decision in two to four weeks.

We must be ready with sufficient funds to cover the bond so we can free Rev. Pinkney immediately! We don’t know at what amount the bond will be set, so we need to raise $10,000 as soon as possible. Rev. Pinkney needs to be with his people, and the people need him.

If you've donated to BANCO before, thank you for your past support. It allows BANCO to continue to fight with Benton Harbor, a poor, Black community fighting against corporate greed and genocide-by-gentrification.

We know the economy is bad and that many good causes need help. But if you can, please give to BANCO to support the defense of Rev. Pinkney and the ongoing struggle of the people of Benton Harbor.

Together we can accomplish what we can't alone. Whether $5, $20, $100, or more, every gift helps. We need your help right now. 

What if you lived in a world where those with money and power could silence all dissent simply by locking up their opponents in prison?  If we let Berrien County do this to Rev. Edward Pinkney, what hope is there for Benton Harbor, or for any of us? What's at stake?

In the 1960s, it was called Negro removal. In Bosnia, it was called ethnic cleansing. It could be called genocide, the removal of the minority population for the purpose of redevelopment of the land. That’s what’s happening in Benton Harbor and leading the resistance is Rev. Edward Pinkney.  -Hugh “Buck” Davis, Michigan civil rights attorney

Donate securely online through Paypal at the BANCO website (click the donate button): bhbanco.org

Or send checks made to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Thank you!

Press release: “Occupy the PGA” Rallies in Benton Harbor, Michigan

from Benton Harbor BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization)
May 27, 2016

David Sole,
Joe Peery [email banco9342 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net]
http://BHBanco.org and http://OccupyThePGA.wordpress.com

“Occupy the PGA” Rallies in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Benton Harbor residents and supporters from across the region protest gentrification, racism

BENTON HARBOR—On Saturday, May 28, Occupy the PGA—a coalition of Benton Harbor residents, community groups, and allies from across the region—will hold a rally and march in protest of the 2016 Senior PGA golf tournament. The rally will begin at 11am at Benton Harbor City Hall (200 East Wall St.)

This year’s tournament will be the third since the construction of the controversial Harbor Shores golf course and luxury condominium development, backed by Whirlpool Corp. It also marks the third Occupy the PGA protest. The coalition has demanded that the Senior PGA transfer 25% of its profits to Benton Harbor, where nearly half of the residents live in poverty and over 90% are black (http://census.gov). Occupy the PGA also indicts Harbor Shores and the Senior PGA for its unfulfilled promises of significant jobs and tax revenue for Benton Harbor residents.

The group also continues to demand a public acknowledgement at the tournament of the “theft of public park land for private profit,” referring to the lease of 22 acres of dunes on Jean Klock Park for transformation into three holes of the Harbor Shores golf course. The group attributes the transfer to the “complete undermining of democratic structures” via former Democratic Governor Granholm’s installment of an emergency financial manager in Benton Harbor in December 2010. Benton Harbor was the first predominantly Black Michigan city in recent years to be subjected to an emergency financial manager.

Occupy the PGA organizers see the Harbor Shores development as a prime example of “racist genocide by gentrification,” designed to force out Black community members who have lived in Benton Harbor for generations. Instead of bringing jobs and opportunities, such luxury developments at best bring only a few low-wage service jobs for locals.

Rev. Edward Pinkney of the local community group BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization) said, “Benton Harbor continues to be a city under siege. The mishandling of public trust couldn't be more massive, unjust, inhumane, and unconstitutional. The Senior PGA needs to hear our voice. It's time to stand up and fight for what's right.”

BANCO has lead multiple petition drives to recall local officials as one strategy of their campaign to promote democracy, civil rights, and economic justice in the county. Pinkney is currently appealing a conviction for allegedly changing dates on a petition drive to recall former Benton Harbor mayor James Hightower. Hightower’s opposition to a city income tax that would have affected Whirlpool Corp. resulted in the community’s effort to recall him.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rev. Pinkney on Prison Radio, and Solidarity Phone Calls May 28

Listen to Rev. Pinkney speak on Prison Radio, the support network for political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal: http://www.prisonradio.org/media/audio/rev-pinkney/reverend-edward-pinkney-speaks-prison-407

Prison Radio has also issued an alert for a solidarity action for Rev. Pinkney. If you can't come to Benton Harbor on May 28th, you can make calls in support of Rev. Pinkney!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Massive Unity Action at Marquette Branch Prison

Prison on Lock Down for a Day

Yesterday saw unprecedented unity among prisoners at Marquette Branch Prison, Michigan's concentration camp. Only 50 prisoners out of about 1,100 went to chow. The rest refused to go in an expression of solidarity and unity in protest of the appalling food from Trinity Corporation and of MDOC's complicity in failing to address the situation.

Prison officials retaliated by locking down the entire Marquette facility from Tuesday, May 24, through Wednesday, May 25, at 6pm.

The unity action at Marquette Branch Prison is the fourth in a series of similar protests in recent weeks, beginning at Kinross Correctional Facility and Chippewa Correctional Facility in March, followed by Cotton Correctional Facility (in Jackson) in April. According to the Detroit Free Press:
Both of the UP protests were characterized by extremely high participation rates among inmates, which disturbed both the prison administration and the Michigan Corrections Organization, which is the union representing corrections officers.
"Absolutely, we're still concerned—it's been spreading," said Anita Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the MCO.
Trinity took over food services for Michigan Department of Corrections after the previous contract with Aramark ended amid repeated scandals. MDOC took prison food services out of the hands of state workers and privatized it in December 2013. A recent report from the University of Michigan (Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy) exposed problems such as food shortages, security vulnerabilities, and other dangerous conditions under Aramark's reign.

And prisoners say food services under Trinity are just as bad, or worse. This has led to the current wave of peaceful protests which serve to build unity and solidarity among prisoners. 

Stay tuned for more details from Rev. Pinkney!

Severe mistreatment of Rev. Pinkney by 3 prison guards

May 2, 2016

Dear Ms. Heidi Washington:

My name is Rev. Edward Pinkney (294671). I have written to you on several occasions, requesting an investigation, which never took place.

On May 2, 2016, Warden Robert Napel allowed me to be subjected to inhumane treatment, cruel and unusual punishment, by 3 correctional officers (Kauiz, Moyle and Schrober--the names may not be correct), who were working on 2pm-10pm shift. One female working inside the visiting room, one female who brings the prisoners in for a visit, and a male working with them on May 2, 106 at or about 7:10pm.

The three Michigan Department of Corrections officers violated Policy 03 03 130, inhumane treatment, by not allowing me, prisoner Pinkney 294671, to use the bathroom. All three stated you cannot use the bathroom, if you need to use the bathroom you must end your visit and return to your unit. The correctional officers forced me to urinate and defecate on myself before I could get back to my unit. This was lack of care for the prisoner’s interest and safety. A prisoner has a right not to be subjected to inhumane, cruel unusual treatment.

The three employees should have been trained, or they should have known, a prisoner has a right to use the bathroom facility during a visit. The three state employees were very unprofessional, untrained, they were intimidating, harassing, and threatening me. The male correctional officer (Schrober) got right in my face. They forced me to urinate and defecate on myself.

The Marquette Branch Prison normally gets away with inhumane treatment in violation of policy, because nobody investigates, the grievance system is a fraud. I am requesting a complete investigation once again into this hostile environment. I never know when, where, why or how the attacks will come, but every day they come from MDOC! Director Heidi Washington, you knew I was in a very hostile environment which was life-threatening, and you did nothing to protect me against the MDOC correctional officers working together.

Rev. Edward Pinkney

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pinkney Defense Files Brief in Michigan Supreme Court Case

Rev. Pinkney's defense team has filed a detailed amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in a separate case, People v. Hall (Mich SCt #150677), in the Michigan Supreme Court.

In Rev. Pinkney's own case, a panel of three judges at the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered a stay on his case until they learn the outcome of the Supreme Court case.

One of the issues in both cases is a question about the meaning of the statute under which Rev. Pinkney was charged. In the amicus brief, his defense argues persuasively that the statute was only a penalty provision, not a statute proscribing forgery. By raising this question in the amicus brief, it is anticipated that the Supreme Court will decide this issue once and for all. If the statute is only a penalty provision, then Rev. Pinkney was improperly charged under it and cannot be retried.

Meanwhile, last week the defense filed a motion requesting bond pending appeal for Rev. Pinkney, since there is no telling when the Supreme Court case will be decided. Please donate if you can so we can be ready to free Rev. Pinkney if he gets bond pending appeal!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stop the Corruption in Berrien County!

The message couldn't be clearer. This week three billboards popped up in Benton Harbor, just in time for #OccupyThePGA!

Two of the billboards are near the intersection of Nickerson and M-139, right near the bus station, and the third is on I-94 between exits 28 and 29. Be sure to look for them when you're in the neighborhood!

Thanks to all who supported this effort, and to quemadura.net for the donated design work and daymonjhartley.com for the donated photo of an earlier Occupy the PGA march!

New Opperman radio interview with Rev. Pinkney