Sunday, July 06, 2008

Voices from Benton Harbor

These articles are published in the July 2008 edition of the People's Tribune. Visit Call 800-691-6888 or email for more information.


In a miscarriage of justice the likes of which many of us have never observed in any courtroom, Rev. Edward Pinkney's probation violation hearing ended with the judge sentencing him to a minimum of 36 months to 120 months. A more detailed report will follow on our next step in the ongoing battle for democracy and against corporate power in Benton Harbor. Funds are urgently needed. Please send to: BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022 -- Pinkney Defense Committee


By Pastor Mary Gault
Thursday, June 26, 2008, corporate power raised it's ugly head again in the Berrien County Courthouse at the probation violation hearing of Rev. Edward Pinkney. The contrived violation was on the grounds that an article he wrote quoting Deuteronomy 28 was a threat to the life of the trial judge, Judge Butzbaugh. While on the stand, Rev. Pinkney's probation agent, when asked how he knew about the article, said that a colleague not assigned to the case brought him the article. Then he, as probation agent, his supervisor, and the prosecutor brought the probation violation against Rev. Pinkney. No testimony was given that the Judge Butzbaugh brought forth the complaint as a threat on his life. They also took offense at his calling the judge a racist and for being corrupt. Isn't it interesting that for years Rev. Pinkney showed up in the courtrooms in the Berrien County Courthouse wearing t-shirts calling the judges and prosecutors "Benton Harbor's Most Wanted," without interference?
More interesting is that Rev. Pinkney had reported to his probation agent an hour before he was arrested yet no mention was made to him of a violation nor did they detain him at that time. Rev. Pinkney's arrest came on the coattails of a very successful rally in Benton Harbor whose guest speaker was former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. One can only make the deduction that corporate and governmental powers saw this as too big a threat and decided to remove Rev. Pinkney farther from the community by sending him to prison.
The presiding judge assigned more power to Rev. Pinkney than Moses by saying he was able to call upon God to carry out this so-called threat and God would obey. As a pastor, I look at this as government ignoring the constitution by breaching our right to religious belief and ability to freely preach the word of God. This court also trampled over the constitutionally protected freedom of speech.