Rev. Pinkney Arrested AGAIN, supporters: Lynn Stewart, Voice Of Detroit, EXPOSED,

What's really happening to the people of Benton Harbor:
The thrust [of the Berrien county courthouse] is to physically remove and destroy families through the use
of the criminal justice system. Every person they can put in jail; every person whose voting rights they can
revoke with a felony conviction; every person they can cause to lose their job by putting them on probation;
every person they can cause to lose the ability to pay for basic necessities through imposing ruinous court
costs and probation is all part of the process. 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 the foremost leader
of the resistance is Rev. Edward Pinkney. --Civil rights attorney, Hugh "Buck" Davis

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New court date for Pinkney - Tuesday February 24

Judge Schrock finally set a date for the hearing on the 4 motions: 

Tuesday Feb. 24, 1pm Berrien County Courthouse. 

 (1) deals with direct verdict (2) juror lied under oath about her connection with county clerk Sharon Tyler (3) resentencing to correct an invalid sentence (4) appeal bond pending motions.  

Mark your calendars.

From Rev. Pinkney:  I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."   

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pinkney imprisoned -- 442 billionaires wallow in wealth

View the People’s Tribune articles covering the struggle
in Benton Harbor and Rev. Edward Pinkney.

 We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org


Rev. Edward Pinkney speaking at a Detroit protest about the cut off of water to thousands of families. Photo/daymonjhartley.com
Rev. Edward Pinkney speaking at a Detroit protest about the cut off of water to thousands of families. Photo/daymonjhartley.com

Statement from prison:

“This is a fight for us all,” says Rev. Pinkney

The People’s Tribune interviewed Rev. Edward Pinkney who is imprisoned in Marquette, Michigan.  Pinkney is a leader of the people who was unjustly convicted of vote fraud charges in Benton Harbor, MI and sentenced to up to ten years in prison. He speaks about what this fight is all about.
“My case represents a direct attack on democracy. This is an issue around the world, and especially here in the U.S. It shows what the corporate power structure will do. They are determined to crush anyone who stands in their way. They need to control the working class. It’s about the haves against the have nots, the rich against the poor. It’s not about Rev. Pinkney or Benton Harbor. It’s an issue for everyone. They no longer need workers like they used to. It doesn’t matter if you are Black, white, Mexican, Puerto Rican, etc. If you’re not part of what they’re trying to do, you’re not useful to them.
“This struggle is really because of the economy. We must find a solution. We can no longer allow a society that cannot feed, clothe and house people. That society must be overturned. We need to make sure everybody is fed, clothed, and housed in America. They are cutting food stamps.  They are cutting subsidies for housing. Until the people take a stand, they are going to continue doing the same thing. What’s next after food stamps?
“We have to show them we are not willing to lay down and let them walk all over us. This is why I don’t mind being in the prison system. I don’t mind even this horrible food. I don’t mind that I came up here in a cold bus, shackled; it took two days. I don’t mind because I know we are going to win in the end.  I know this because the poorest workers stood up in my trial. They told the truth and were not intimidated by the sheriff and prosecutor. It was so profound. It gives me hope. All this is not for nothing. All this is just the beginning of something bigger than Rev. Pinkney.
“We’re talking about a movement. We’re getting world recognition. We’re doing all the right things. We must make this struggle a victory for all who are victims of this economic crisis in every city, state and country. We must continue to fight this battle until we win, and we will win. That is why we are fighting today.”
 We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Voices from Benton Harbor

The People’s Tribune interviewed people from Benton Harbor, MI about the continued struggle for justice.
“They dismissed the latest mayoral recall because the mayor can’t be recalled in his last term. The recall effort was because the city is operating illegally without a civil service board. If no action is taken, I will ask the prosecutor to investigate. Even though recall petitions can’t be filed against the mayor, he is not free of any prosecution investigation.” — Denny Brown
“County Commissioner Bob Wooley could get 20 years for embezzlement from the county. They didn’t want us BANCO members to demonstrate so they kept his court hearing private. They don’t even put him in the paper like they did Rev. Pinkney. They don’t deal fairly. They should push it to the max. If not, then release Rev. Pinkney.— Emma Kinnard
“The incarceration of Rev. Pinkney, found guilty with no evidence, brings awareness of the modern day Jim Crow in Berrien County: the black robes of injustice, uniforms of deception, and an all white jury representing something other than the truth. The revolution for justice has increased world-wide.” — Dorothy Pinkney
“Boycott Whirlpool. Boycott Whirlpool. Boycott Whirlpool.”  — Rev. Pinkney
Send donations to Rev. Pinkney’s legal defense to: BANCO, 1940 Union Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan  49022. Or go to bhbanco.org to donate via paypal.
We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

The struggle is for life itself

From the People’s Tribune Editors
Babies in America go hungry while 442 billionaires wallow in wealth. A powerful movement for food, housing, water and other necessities is arising. Everywhere, the people are coming into conflict with a murderous police state that stands in the way of the movement achieving its demands.
Michigan is an example. Here, the once stable working class cities are shattered by automation and globalization.  As the people struggle for their needs, the police, the watchdogs of the private property of the billionaires—who are the owners of the corporations that have taken over the government and our nation—rear their head.
In Detroit, running water for thousands of families too poor to pay the skyrocketing price is shut off. Water, this basic human need, is step by step being privatized so the corporations can profit. When the community protested at the gate of the private company the city hired (to the tune of over $5 million) to turn off the water, demonstrators were roughed up and jailed.
In Benton Harbor, where 42.5% of the population live in poverty, an uncompromising leader of the people, Reverend Edward Pinkney was imprisoned for up to ten years on phony charges. His crime was standing up for the poorest workers against Whirlpool, the giant corporation that rules the area.
Michigan also shows how the rulers utilize the “race” card to try to stop the people from coming together in a common struggle. Their tactic is to attack Black-majority cities first, painting them as incompetent to run their own affairs. Then they impose dictatorial emergency managers on them. These unelected officials, operating in the service of the bankers and corporate owners, usher in the attacks on necessities such as water and pave the way for privatization of all of a city’s public assets.
The largely Black cities are the starting point for the dismantling of democracy, but the real target is the whole working class and the whole of society. Already the emergency manager system has reached 17 municipalities and school districts in Michigan. Now, this model is appearing in other states, too.
Today, the economy is destroying the lives of so many workers it is possible to forge a new kind of unity. Working class unity in the fight for our necessities and for a new cooperative society where everyone’s needs are met, and where the police state is a thing of the past, is the only force that can save humanity.
We must take the battles for our lives out to all of the towns and cities where the new poverty makes our practical economic class interests identical, regardless of color. This is part of the struggle for the power necessary to build a new society run by and for the people.
We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.or

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Supporters in the courtroom gather around Mrs. Pinkney. PHOTO/DONATED
Supporters in the courtroom gather around Mrs. Pinkney after the sentencing of Rev. Pinkney for 2 1/2 to 10 years for phony vote fraud charges.
PHOTO/DONATED TO PEOPLESTRIBUNE.ORG

Rev. Edward Pinkney’s statement to the Judge

Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from a statement that Rev. Pinkney made in the courtroom to the judge right before he was sentenced.
“I’ve committed no crime. In fact, if I was anyone else, I would not be here. I can’t say if anyone changed the dates on the petitions. The prosecutor knows I haven’t committed any crime. I minister to people in this courtroom. I’ve been fighting to bring about a change in our community. Nowhere in the history of mankind can a person be convicted of a crime with no evidence. The jury was motivated by something other than the truth. I am very disappointed in the system itself. The jury took an oath that justice would be served. They failed the people of Benton Harbor and Berrien County. I know there was a jurist who lied to be on the jury. Still, I’m standing here. I could not believe the jury would find me guilty if they followed the instructions. We have to take a stand against some of the things that have happened in Benton Harbor. I can’t say if someone changed the dates but the prosecutor knows I didn’t do it. My wife and children are hurt. I will continue to fight. Over 90% of the people of Benton Harbor stand with me and understand there’s no evidence. I’m hurt. I can’t see how something like this can happen.” — Rev. Edward Pinkney

 We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Imprisoning our leaders will not stop the movement

From the Editors of the People’s Tribune
On December 15, Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Mich. was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison on a trumped-up charge of changing dates on petitions to recall Benton Harbor’s mayor. There was no evidence to prove he had done anything wrong. Everyone familiar with Rev. Pinkney and the struggle in Benton Harbor knows this was a political show trial, intended to remove a leader in the fight against the corporations and intimidate the people. But the people will not be intimidated.
This is the second time in seven years that Pinkney has been charged with so-called “election fraud,” when his real crime has been to try and use the electoral process to represent the true interests of the people. At the sentencing, Judge Sterling Schrock had the nerve to say Pinkney had “disenfranchised” people by undermining their faith in the electoral process. Wasn’t it really the State of Michigan, which the judge represents, that has disenfranchised people by imposing unelected emergency managers on a number of cities, including Benton Harbor? Hasn’t the people’s faith in government actually been undermined by the government’s refusal to provide justice in the numerous police killings, and by the government’s denying even food, water and housing to those who need it?
The government at every level, from the president down to the street cop, is in the pocket of the corporations and their billionaire owners. We are living under a corporate dictatorship that is steadily moving toward open fascism. This is so because the billionaire-controlled economic system we have today is providing for fewer and fewer people. The computer and the robot offer the corporations more production with less labor, and so the jobs have been wiped out in Michigan and throughout the country. The result is growing permanent unemployment for many and poverty-wage jobs for those still working. Today, those demanding jobs and living wages are a threat to the system because they are demanding what the system can no longer provide. So the corporations make war on us. Democracy is wiped out to hobble our ability to resist, racism is used to keep us from uniting around our common class interests, and we are threatened with police terror and prison cells.
What Whirlpool Corp. and their servants in Berrien County have done to Pinkney is a metaphor for what the corporations are doing to the whole country. The entire working class is under attack. This case makes clear, once again, that the people will never get justice from a government that is in the hands of the corporations.
Imagine the society we could have if the people controlled the government and owned the means of producing the wealth, instead of the corporations and billionaires. We could end poverty. We could guarantee democracy, justice and fairness. As we defend our leaders and confront every act of injustice, we, the people, should think about how we can build the consciousness and organization to wage the struggle for a new society. Uniting around the demand that the government guarantee the basic necessities of life for all is key. Such fighting unity will make us unstoppable.
The People’s Tribune has been in this struggle since the beginning in 2005 and will continue to publicize it until justice is served.We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source. Copyright@2015 People’s Tribune. Visit http://www.peoplestribune.org

 We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org


Voices from Benton Harbor

From the Editors of the People’s Tribune
Editor’s Note: Cops banged on people’s doors, intimidating the community, but people are still fighting. Here are voices of some Benton Harbor leaders.
“They wrongfully convicted a man who did no crime. This is like a set up. They don’t ship people off that fast to prison. They took him immediately. We have a lot of people, a lot of groups, and we need to come together. – Marquette Coates, Benton Harbor
This is Berrien County, home of the KKK. They are hanging us like they did in the old days, but they do it in the courts now. What they did to Rev. Pinkney was a shame. They have people in high places found guilty of theft who get no time. Even the Sheriff has violated laws and has been in court for weeks. He still gets paid and still runs this county. We need to get out here, stick together and fight. — Emma Kinnard, Benton Harbor
“They say you have a right to the first amendment and a right to be a activist. But you have a brief in your hand that shows there was a plant on the jury. You have evidence that this juror knew law enforcement and the county clerk, that she is in with them. They chose not to discuss this. They are just buying time to decide how to handle this. — Dorothy Pinkney, Benton Harbor
“The County Commissioners have been stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they’re not going to jail. Pinkney tries to speak the truth and they railroad him!” — Pati Heinz, Benton Harbor
“The sentencing, the ruling by the jury reflects that this was a kangaroo court.” — Marcus Muhammad, Benton Harbor City Commissioner (speaking to WINDU.com)
Free Pinkney! There will be an appeal. For information on future efforts, go to peoplestribune.org. The People’s Tribune has been in this struggle since the beginning in 2005 and will continue to publicize it until justice is served.We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source. Copyright@2015 People’s Tribune. Visit http://www.peoplestribune.org
 We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2015 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org


For more, go to http://peoplestribune.org/pt-news/free-pinkney/

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I am paying a debt to society which I do not owe

The Berrien County Court system has undermined the respect and confidence of the community in its application of the law and the takeover of the city of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

The court system has stolen time from me.  I am paying time with my life, family life, and community.  I’m required to serve a sentence while several issues are being decided in the court — and paying a debt to society that I do not owe.

I have already raised substantial issues.  I am entitled to a directed verdict of Not Guilty based on constitutionally insufficient evidence under the Beyond a Reasonable Doubt standard.  I also assert that I am entitled to a directed verdict based on the issue that was resolved in favor of the defendant in People v. Hall (10/23/14).  

Under MCL 168.937 and based on due process, statutory construction, and the rule of lenity, a petition circulator cannot be subjected to a felony conviction and penalty when notice and warnings on the petition form, provided by the government, indicate that one may only be subject to a misdemeanor conviction and penalty.  

A misdemeanor conviction and penalty may only be imposed under a specific statue, MCL 168.544, specifically proscribed acts of falsifying election petitions.  For this reason, the convictions under MCL 168.937 must be vacated.  Due process also requires this result, as the rule of lenity is mandated by due process. 

This result is also required by the issue that the jury was not constitutionally adequate, based on the arguments raised in my motion for a new trial relating to juror Gail Freehling concealing information during the jury selection.

I am a political prisoner being held in Marquette Prison and I remain in great spirits despite the racist injustice that has landed me here.  This attack on me and on democracy in Benton Harbor shows that Whirlpool is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way.  It is part of a process underway across the US in various forms.  Let’s confront the corporations that are destroying this country.

Rev. Edward Pinkney

Friday, January 16, 2015

"...no material or circumstantial evidence presented that would implicate Pinkney..."

Rev. Pinkney has been moved:

Edward Pinkney
Prisoner # 294671
Marquette Branch Prison
1960 US Highway 41South
Marquette, MI 49855

Warden Robert Napel
906-226-6531



National defense campaign building for Rev. Edward Pinkney

December 23, 2014
by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Rev. Pinkney – Photo: Dorothy Pinkney
Rev. Pinkney – Photo: Dorothy Pinkney
Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney is now being held in Jackson state prison. He remains in good spirits despite the racist injustice that has landed him in detention over manufactured claims that he changed the dates on five signature entries on a recall petition designed to remove Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.
During the course of the trial there was no material or circumstantial evidence presented that would implicate Pinkney in the purported five felonies. Many believe that the Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) is being punished by the local authorities for opposing the corporate program of Whirlpool Corp., which is headquartered in Benton Harbor.
In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an “Occupy the PGA” demonstration against the world-renowned golf tournament that was held at the newly-created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park which had been donated to the City of Benton Harbor decades ago.
Berrien County officials were determined to defeat a recall campaign against Mayor Hightower of Benton Harbor, who opposed a program to tax local corporations in an effort to create jobs and improve conditions in the majority African American municipality. Benton Harbor, like other Michigan cities, has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.

Statements of support pour in

This is not the first time that Pinkney has been imprisoned for his political activities. In 2007 he was convicted in a second trial, with the first ending in a hung jury, for “mishandling” absentee ballots during a recall election involving two Benton Harbor city commissioners. The results of the elections removing the officials were overturned after criminal charges were filed against the BANCO leader.
After Rev. Pinkney’s sentencing on Dec. 15, his wife, Dorothy Pinkney, a longtime activist in her own right, discusses with other supporters how to move forward. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
After Rev. Pinkney’s sentencing on Dec. 15, his wife, Dorothy Pinkney, a longtime activist in her own right, discusses with other supporters how to move forward. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
Pinkney was sentenced to one year under house arrest and four more years of probation. Later in 2007, he was charged with violating the terms of his sentence for allegedly threatening a judge in Berrien County.
The threat charge stemmed from an article he wrote in the People’s Tribune newspaper based in Chicago where he quoted scriptures from the Old Testament. He was ordered imprisoned for three to 10 years.
The charges were overturned in late 2008 by the Michigan Appeals Court after the activist received widespread support from the civil liberties, ecumenical and academic communities across the country. He was released at the end of 2008 and successfully completed his probation, returning to full-time activism in Berrien County.
Pinkney in 2008 from his prison cell ran for United States Congress on the Green Party ticket in Michigan. He received 3,500 votes in a challenge to Fred Upton, a Republican congressman and heir to the Whirpool corporate dynasty.
A statement issued Dec. 17 by Green Party Watch says: “The overt targeting of an African-American activist for a politically motivated prosecution is reminiscent of recent episodes involving Chuck Turner and Elston McCowan, both Greens who challenged the power structures in their communities. In a system where police officers regularly kill unarmed African-American men without facing trial, it is especially galling that the same system sentences an African-American activist to up to 10 years imprisonment on trumped-up, politically motivated charges.”

“In a system where police officers regularly kill unarmed African-American men without facing trial, it is especially galling that the same system sentences an African-American activist to up to 10 years imprisonment on trumped-up, politically motivated charges.”

Speaking to the press, Rev. Pinkney supporter Marcina Cole condemns his unjust conviction and sentence. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
Speaking to the press, Rev. Pinkney supporter Marcina Cole condemns his unjust conviction and sentence. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
Black Agenda Report, a well-known media outlet opposing the corporate influence over African American politics in the U.S., wrote in a Dec. 17 editorial: “This may seem like an Old Jim Crow story, about a preacher from a small, mostly Black town who wanted only to help his people through the voting process, but is set upon by backward whites determined to maintain their monopoly on political power. And, it is true; Old Man Jim Crow is alive and well on the banks of Lake Michigan.”
This same editorial goes on, saying: “But it is the New Jim Crow, the Mass Black Incarceration State, that has snatched 66-year-old Rev. Pinkney away to what could become life in prison. The judge and prosecutor said that Pinkney’s 12 past and present felony convictions make him a career criminal, even though each count stems from an elections process. The Old Jim Crow would have unapologetically sent Pinkney to the chain gang for being an uppity Black man, but the New Jim Crow simply piled on a bunch of felonies to put him away as a serial criminal, allowing the system to claim that race had nothing to do with it.”
A national conference call was held on Thursday, Dec. 18, designed to build a defense campaign. Former Vermont State Senator Ben-Zion Ptashnik initiated the call through the People Demanding Action (PDA) organization.
Supporters of Rev. Pinkney demonstrate their anger and determination to win justice. They refuse to be intimidated into silence, though they see clearly the corruption in Berrien County. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
Supporters of Rev. Pinkney demonstrate their anger and determination to win justice. They refuse to be intimidated into silence, though they see clearly the corruption in Berrien County. – Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe
The conference call included activist members of the clergy, electoral reform organizers, former Green Party candidates, progressive Democrats, the People’s Tribune newspaper, Moratorium NOW! Coalition and others. The call provided an update on the case and plans to publicize the plight of Rev. Pinkney and the people of Berrien County, recruit a legal team and organize a fundraising drive to proceed with an appeal.
Ptashnik and Victoria Collier wrote in Truth-out.org on Dec. 16: “Concerned activists and clergy associated with People Demanding Action, a national social justice organization, are circulating a petition to ministers and various organizations. The petition is to be forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for an investigation into the circumstances of Pinkney’s trial and sentencing.”
To sign the petition in support of Rev. Edward Pinkney log on to: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6405/c/10113/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10735

A national conference call was held on Thursday, Dec. 18, designed to build a defense campaign.

Contributions for the defense of Rev. Pinkney can be sent to BANCO at 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022.
Messages of support for Rev. Pinkney and concern for his welfare should be sent to Warden Randall Haas, G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, 3500 North Elm Road, Jackson MI 49201, phone 517-780-5600. Encourage the media to ask the warden to arrange an interview with Rev. Pinkney.
Send some love and light to Rev. Pinkney, who is said to be locked down 23 hours a day: Rev. Edward Pinkney, 294671, G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, 3855 Cooper St., Jackson MI 49201.
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, can be reached at panafnewswire@gmail.com. Pan-African News Wire, the world’s only international daily pan-African news source, is designed to foster intelligent discussion on the affairs of African people throughout the continent and the world.
http://sfbayview.com/2014/12/national-defense-campaign-building-for-rev-edward-pinkney/