Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Benton Harbor/St. Joseph is the most blatant planned racist divide in the country

Job losses have not affected St. Joe even close to how they've decimated Benton Harbor. In fact, the funds of Whirlpool have been primarily placed in St. Joe. Many cities in Michigan have been destroyed by companies moving out - Jackson, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Flint, Lansing, etc. What they have that Benton Harbor does not have: a remaining company that believes in the city (NOT the all white city next door - or actually within feet). Kalamazoo's remaining wealth (after Pfizer, paper companies, GM, etc, etc), didn't keep Portage afloat. Lansing's remaining wealth didn't fund Okemos, etc.

Privileged people like to believe it was just circumstantial, however, Benton Harbor/St. Joe is the most blatant planned racist divide in the country. One only needs to visit the the sculpture park, the music shell, the downtown, the children's museum, the art museum, and the residential stock to recognize the divide. When Benton Harbor was to have it's historical show of the famous produce business (anniversary show) it had to be held in St. Joe because Benton Harbor didn't have a museum. Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, South Haven, etc. all have museums funded by the wealthiest of families/businesses. If the residents are going to take pride in their community and feel connected to their roots they need parks, basketball hoops, museums, urban planning. Now Whirlpool is taking Benton Harbor's shoreline for a golf course. The strategies are obvious.

Whirlpool receives tax breaks galore; it could be said that WP is actually robbing BH regarding this issue. And who shoulders the burden of Whirlpool's water usage? BH residents pay for it with each water bill. Does Whirlpool hire BH residents? As a rule, no. Only those from St. Joe or surrounding towns. Again, the strategies are obvious. And we've only mentioned a few of them here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Colorblind No More March/April 2009

By Daisy Hernández

A growing number of states assess the racial impact of drug laws.
Legislation passed in Iowa and Connecticut will now require politicians in both states to consider how proposed drug laws may impact communities of color. Minnesota hasn’t passed a law, but its sentencing commission has already begun taking similar action.

The laws come after decades of research showing how the federal and state policies that made up the War on Drugs have disproportionately targeted Black people, sending them to prison at much higher rates than whites. In Iowa alone, Blacks are imprisoned at 13.6 times the rate of whites.

The Sentencing Project, an organization promoting reforms in the criminal justice system, has been calling on lawmakers across the country to create racial impact statements. The concept is similar to how environmental impact statements work: When a bill is proposed, lawmakers are required to include an analysis of how the environment would be affected if the bill were passed. Racial impact statements will do the same, considering how a proposed sentencing law might cause, for example, an increase of Latino or Black men in prisons.
Eleven Year Old Article and It's Even Worse Now

Fall 1998

Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex By Angela Davis

Five times as many black men are presently in prison as in four-year colleges and universities.
What is the Prison Industrial Complex? Why does it matter?

Imprisonment has become the response of first resort to far too many of the social problems that burden people who are ensconced in poverty. These problems often are veiled by being conveniently grouped together under the category “crime” and by the automatic attribution of criminal behavior to people of color. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages. Prisons thus perform a feat of magic. Or rather the people who continually vote in new prison bonds and tacitly assent to a proliferating network of prisons and jails have been tricked into believing in the magic of imprisonment. But prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings. And the practice of disappearing vast numbers of people from poor, immigrant, and racially marginalized communities has literally become big business.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Herald Palladium WATCH

Morale gets a boost when the news is good, HP, 4/15


How refreshing it has been to read mostly good news instead of reading about murders, rapes, etc., on the front page of our newspaper lately.
In fact, the entire paper seems upbeat. It helps my morale, and I expect might do the same for others. So keep the good stuff coming!

Alice Collins, St. Joseph

[Alice, You couldn't have summed it up better. Thanking the HP for a pleasant dose of only "good" stories. A nice St. Joe person asking for nice news - not the ugly actions of those creating havoc all around you. Not the courthouse news. Not the high rate of incarcerations being handed down right in your town to innocent people. Not the police/sheriff brutality happening in neighboring communities so close you could walk there. You want to live in denial as do many/most in your town.
Thank you, Alice Collins, for coming right out and saying it with crystal clarity.

Now, imagine a newspaper with a mission to tell the truth all the time.
That would be an interesting read. No dictates from corporate/business/legal system/Upton interests. Actual investigative or at least thorough reporting - even on "happy" topics. Papers like this have been known to change history and/or have a positive impact on their community. Human beings become civic minded when they fully understand what's going on around them. That's the last thing the controlling entities want, however.]
There is no better beach for weddings than Klock, HP, 4/16/09


I would like all of your readers to know how lucky they are to have a beach jewel in their neighborhood. Do not let development take this pristine beach, grasses and place of solitude. I am a professional wedding photographer, and I have captured two wedding ceremonies on Jean Klock Beach and numerous engagement sessions and wedding shoots.
I refer brides to this location for a beach weddings all the time. I just moved north from Allegan and I capture a lot of Lake Michigan beach weddings. Please know that Jean Klock Park is as private, pristine and perfect as any of the beaches on Lake Michigan - I have captured images on most of them. Enjoy Jean Klock Park and help to save this fabulous beach and park.

Paul Retherford, Rudyard, Mich.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Herald Palladium WATCH

Official [OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA]: Benton Township police chase ended in suicide

After reviewing videotape, reports, county prosecutor Cotter says Quintis Pratt shot himself

By J. Dalgleish, HP 4/15/09

BENTON TOWNSHIP - Quintis Pratt shot and killed himself after the stolen car he drove crashed following an April 3 police chase in Benton Township, Berrien County Prosecutor Arthur Cotter said Tuesday. [WHY WAS HIS SUICIDE NOT IN THE HP'S FIRST REPORT? SEE BELOW, MON. APRIL 6, http://bhbanco.blogspot.com/2009/04/high-speed-chase-ends-in-death-another.html]

Cotter said evidence shows that Pratt, 24, of Benton Township, suffered a gunshot wound to the head at close range and police found a revolver in his lap. [HE SHOOTS HIMSELF IN THE HEAD, THEN PLACES GUN IN HIS LAP? HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK READERS ARE?] Cotter said he concluded it was a suicide after reviewing police car videotape and investigators' reports. [WHY DID COTTER HAVE TO REVIEW IT? FOUL PLAY COVER-UP ATTEMPT? FIRST THEY CLAIM A CAR CRASH KILLED HIM. (WE KNEW THE CAR CRASH COULD NOT HAVE KILLED HIM.) NOW IT'S A SUICIDE. BERRIEN COUNTY NEEDS A DEPT. OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATION, AND HAS FOR YEARS.]

"I looked at the video and it's abundantly clear he was dead" as township police officers walked toward the car, Cotter said. [THE PEOPLE NEED TO REVIEW THE VIDEO - COTTER IS NOT TRUSTWORTHY.]

The Berrien County Sheriff's Department handled the investigation. [ANOTHER OUT-OF-CONTROL AGENCY.]

Cotter said the incident began at 6:14 a.m. April 3 when someone stole Elisha Durhan's Dodge Cirrus while her husband left it to warm up near their apartment along Union Avenue in Benton Township.

Police spotted the car around 11 a.m. along Britain Avenue and began a pursuit, which lasted for a half-mile. Pratt lost control of the car, and it crashed into a chain link fence at the corner of Beveridge and Britain avenues. [YOU FIRST REPORTED THE CHAIN LINK FENCE CRASH KILLED HIM - WE KNEW THIS TO BE FALSE.]

The crash happened east of Crystal Avenue, near Boynton Montessori School. Township Police Chief Vince Fetke said the two patrol cars in pursuit backed off as they approached the school. [BENTON TOWNSHIP NEVER BACKS OFF.]

Cotter said Pratt's father, Emmit Pratt, told investigators that his son months before had vowed he would never go back to prison. Cotter said the fear of prison could have motivated Pratt to kill himself. [PRATT KNEW STEALING A CAR WOULD NOT GET HIM SENT TO PRISON.]

Ironically, Cotter said, there was a fair chance a car theft conviction might not have meant prison time. He said Pratt did not get time for a drug delivery conviction last year.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections Web site, Pratt completed a four-year prison term last year for possession of a sawed-off shotgun. He served a year before that for larceny in a building. The sentences were handed down in Berrien County.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Berrien County Judge Butzbaugh Steals from Benton Harbor Residents, Part II
by Dorothy Pinkney

The Harbor Shores project which has been primarily pressed by Cornerstone Alliance on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation began in 1988 when the community economic development corporation was formed by John Dewane of the law firm Butzbaugh and Ryan. (yes, that's Judge Butzbaugh)

In 1992 Jeff Edmonds, Judge Butzbaugh's campaign manager in 2004, co-signed the filing with the Mich. Dept. of Labor and Economic Growth. In 1991, the community Economic Development Corp. became Cornerstone Alliance. Cornerstone's legal documents were all prepared by Butzbaugh's associate Dewane.

Dewane has been continuously on the board of directors of Cornerstone Alliance through 2007, the last year for which there is a record. Dewane has now been appointed to
judge in Berrien County by Gov. Jennifer Granholm because judge Butzbaugh was a member of the bar with Granholm, and Dewane worked in the same office with Butzbaugh. He was recommended by Butzbaugh. Butzbaugh and Dewane were both appointed by Granholm.

In 2000 Benton Harbor sought a section 108 loan guarantee coupled with a BEDI grant to complete what is known as the Edge Water plan, a 422 acres Brownfield redevelopment project. The parcel physically connects the all-white city, St. Joseph, to all-Black Benton Harbor, and became St. Joseph township. We call this stealing land. Benton Harbor city commissioners agreed without residents' approval to subcontract to Cornerstone Alliance to carry out the Edgewater plan. Dewane is legal counsel to the Finance and Administration committee responsible for all contracts and financial oversight of Cornerstone Alliance.

There was another portion of the land sold for redevelopment known as the Grand
Boulevard Renaissance LLC. Their attorneys were Dewane, Peterson and Cullitan PC,
the successor firm when Butzbaugh assumed the bench. Ship Street Real Estate was formed with Dewane, now Judge Dewane, as resident agent and incorporator. Ship street had merged with Butzbaugh and Ryan with the surviving corporation being Ship Street Real Estate. Ship Street Real Estate superseded Counselor Ship Street Real Estate which in turn superseded Law and Title Realty - formed in the year 2000.

There is an unbroken history of direct relationship and interest between the above entities and Judge Alfred Butzbaugh, since at least the formation of Butzbaugh and Ryan in 1984.

Finally, property record indicates that Judge Butzbaugh is the 50% beneficiary of the Elden Butzbaugh trust. On two occasions in 1998, the Elden Butzbaugh Jr. Real Estate Trust acquired property along the Benton Harbor ship canal.

Judge Alfred Butzbaugh is conflicted by his economic interests in Harbor Shores and other related projects which my husband Rev. Pinkney and his various groups have been strongly fighting.

My husband and every other African-American citizen deserved a trial before an unbiased judge and a jury of their peers (not all-white). It is essential to due process. The best part about this situation is that my husband is still standing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Berrien County Judge Butzbaugh Steals from Benton Harbor Residents, Part I by Dorothy Pinkney

The story starts with my husband, Rev. Edward Pinkney, attempting to stop forty years of corruption in the Berrien County, Michigan courthouse from 2000 to 2007. His court observation was even recognized by the court during a hearing. He was in every courtroom monitoring the proceedings more than 1800 times during those seven years. The Black Autonomy Network Community Organization(BANCO) picketed the courthouse every Tuesday for six years. Berrien County sends the highest number of people to prison per capita - more than any other county in the US. My husband wanted to find out why.

What makes the fight difficult and courageous is that the Goliaths we in Berrien
are facing are Whirlpool Corporation, U.S.Rep Fred Upton (who hates blacks), Mich.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Pres. Bush, and the 500 million dollar Harbor Shores developers.

My husband will fight these manipulators on whatever level he can. As an activist
he is tireless, as a speaker he is inspirational, as a man he is honorable. He has mastered the art of tough love in his dealings at the courthouse and has a smile and a joke for everyone. He tolerates the countless impositions on his time and health including intimidation and numerous attacks by police, numerous hearings, two lengthy trials, and recently, a hellish year in prison. He was sent to prison for quoting the bible - the very first pastor to be sent to prison for quoting the bible in the history of the United States.

We may be heavily out-gunned and out-maneuvered by the Whirlpool Corporation and
overlords, but as my husband says, we have just begun to fight. After his March 2006 trial he learned something about the presiding judge, Alfred Butzbaugh: his law firm, his partners, and a trust of which he is a beneficiary have been deeply involved in the promotion of Harbor Shores and other development projects in and around the
city of Benton Harbor which my husband and others opposed - leading to the recall election of a corrupt city commissioner. When the corrupt commissioner lost the election, Judge Paul Maloney set aside the election without enough votes to do so when the underlying criminal charges were brought against my husband. Maloney and Butzbaugh are two of the most corrupt judges in the history of the US. Allow me to offer you proof, in this case, concerning Butzbaugh.

My husband was denied due process and the right under state law to an impartial decision maker because the trial judge, Alfred Butzbaugh, had a financial interest in the development of Harbor Shores. This huge development project is what motivated my husband to seek the recall of the corrupt Benton Harbor city commissioner Glen Yarbrough.

The trial court financial interest in the Harbor Shores project was not known to my husband until after the trial. The Harbor Shores project which has been primarily pressed by Cornerstone Alliance on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation began in 1988 when the community economic development corporation was formed by John Dewane of the law firm Butzbaugh and Ryan. (yes, that's Judge Butzbaugh)

-To Be Continued-
Pertaining to another recent Berrien Township police high-speed chase resulting in the death of a young African-American man, Quintis Pratt:

Driver training and the typical police agency
Police Driving: Safety Behind the Wheel by Capt. Travis Yates

From the Danbury News Times, 2/22/09
...For those reasons, the era of the high-speed chase -- beloved by movie directors and TV cop reality shows -- is ending in many places.
"I think that's what's happening,'' said John Phillips of Orlando, Fla., who runs the Web site Pursuit Watch, which tracks police chases across the country.
"A police officer who's a friend of mine puts it this way: 'Our job isn't to arrest some guy. It's to protect the community,''' Phillips related.

From http://www.pursuitwatch.org/
Please remember that when the suspect flees it is you, the police officer, that we depend upon to make the critical life and death decisions that affect you, the public and even the fleeing suspect. The suspect has already made a potentially deadly decision and how you react to this situation is critical. It is at this point that we rely on your training, professionalism and expertise to make the critical judgments that determine the outcomes of these events. Sure-“If the bad guys hadn’t run this wouldn’t have happened.” What is just as true is that once the suspect flees, the police officers involved have virtually as much control of the outcomes of these events as the bad guys.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Future Hope column, April 11, 2009

Rev. Wright and Rev. Pinkney By Ted Glick

On this Easter weekend, it is appropriate to write about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Rev. Edward Pinkney, two African American ministers in the upper Midwest who have made a good faith effort to live their lives as Jesus of Nazareth lived his, and who have suffered for it as a result.

Rev. Wright, of course, is much more well known. He was Barack Obama’s minister for 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. In his book, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama describes the personal impact of attending a Sunday morning church service in the mid-80’s presided over by Rev. Wright:

“I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories—of survival, and freedom, and hope—become our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black. . . I felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.”

Last year, however, right around this time, Barack and Michelle Obama decided that they would leave this church that, unquestionably, had been a major influence on their lives. They did so, it is very clear, because they felt that there was no chance Barack would ever become President if he didn’t. The corporate and right-wing media had distorted comments made years before by Rev. Wright, and the media frenzy forced Obama into choosing between his Presidential ambitions and loyalty to a man who had been a friend, a mentor, an inspiration and more.

Wright understood what was going on. He said at the time, “I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do. I am not running for office.” He also said, presciently, referring to Obama, “November 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.”

He hasn’t changed those views. In an Associated Press interview on March 5th, 2009, Wright was quoted as saying in Selma, Alabama, that “he’s like any other president. He’s a politician and he’s got to do what politicians do.” During a speech that day in Selma, he is quoted as saying, “Barack’s name ain’t Jesus. There are things we’ve got to do on our own.”

To his credit, Rev. Wright seems to have handled well the tremendously negative, essentially racist attacks on his character and credibility. He retired last year as minister of Trinity church, but he has been traveling the country speaking, letting people see and hear for themselves. He continues his life of prophetic witness on behalf of the least of these, the victims of imperialism, a word he doesn’t hesitate to use, in opposition to oppressors and on behalf of the oppressed.

So has Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, doing so effectively, and as a result he has been under indictment, under house arrest, in prison, and/or fighting ridiculous charges for over three years.

Benton Harbor is a town of about 11,000 people on the southwestern side of Michigan , 90% black and overwhelmingly poor. It burst onto the national scene in 2003 when its young people rose up in response to a series of local police killings and beatings.

Rev. Pinkney and a local community organization, BANCO, have been involved for years working to change the conditions of life for Benton Harbor’s residents. In 2005 he helped lead a successful recall election of a notoriously racist and abusive city commissioner. The local white-dominated power structure had that result overturned and then went after Rev. Pinkney with false charges of paying people to vote the right way. They failed to gain a conviction in their first trial in 2006, so in their second trial they made sure that there were no blacks on the jury, and in March of 2007 an all-white jury convicted him. He was sentenced to one year in prison and five years on probation. From May to December of that year he was kept under house arrest on an electronically monitored tether.

In December of 2007 Rev. Pinkney wrote an article in the People’s Tribune newspaper in which he quoted a part of the Bible in reference to the judge, Berrien County Chief Judge Alfred Butzbaugh, who had presided over Pinkney’s trial. The Bible quotation said, in part, “The Lord shall smite thee with consumption and with a fever and with an inflammation and with extreme burning.”

For writing this article, Butzbaugh revoked Pinkney’s probation and sent him to jail, and in June of 2008 another Berrien County judge added a three to ten year sentence for Pinkney’s literary “crime.”

After a year in jail, and after his case was taken up by the American Civil Liberties Union, he was released on bail just before Christmas, 2008, once again confined under house arrest. Just recently, a June 9th date was set for a hearing on his case before the Michigan Court of Appeals in Grand Rapids.

Just prior to that hearing, ex-President George Bush will make what may be his first domestic post-presidency speech to the Economic Development Club of Southwestern Michigan in Benton Harbor on May 28th. The primary corporation of this “club” is the Whirlpool Corporation, headquartered in the Benton Harbor area and a major force behind plans to build a private golf course in the city’s lakefront park. In the words of The Michigan Messenger, “Last year, after heavy lobbying from local Republican congressman Fred Upton, the National Park Service approved a plan to swap public lakefront and dune property for a series of inland parcels that are contaminated with industrial waste. In an ongoing federal suit locals are suing to reverse federal and state approval of the project.”

Rev. Pinkney is not keeping quiet about this land grab. He and BANCO are calling for a world-wide boycott of Whirlpool. In a letter sent out recently, he explains:

“We must stop Whirlpool, Rep. Upton, and Harbor Shores developers. We are calling for an International Boycott of all Whirlpool Products to begin May 1, and all stores which sell Whirlpool products.

“We appreciate any effort you can make to spread the word: BOYCOTT WHIRLPOOL AND ALL SUBSIDIARIES, MAY DAY, 2009”

On this weekend when hundreds of millions of people worldwide celebrate the continued inspiration of a man who, 2,000 years ago, threw the corrupt money-changers out of the Jerusalem temple, we would do well to remember and appreciate our present-day prophets, people like Reverends Wright and Pinkney.

More information on the boycott and the Benton Harbor struggle can be found at http://www.bhbanco.org. Rev. Pinkney can be contacted directly at 269-925-0001 or banco9342@sbcglobal.net.

Ted Glick has been a progressive social change organizer since 1968. More information and past writings can be found at http://www.tedglick.com.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rep.Fred Upton Swaps Public Lakefront and Dune Property for Contaminated & Industrial Waste Parcels

[much of the land proposed to be traded for the parts of Jean Klock Park to be privatized into part of the Harbor Shores golf course was polluted -- and DNR, DEQ, and the City of BH knew it but didn't disclose it to the public. Protect Jean Klock Park asks US Army Corps of Engineers to rescind its approval for the land swap.]

Bush to speak to developers in Benton Harbor
By Eartha Jane Melzer 3/30/09 Michigan Messenger


Former president George W. Bush will make what is being billed as his first domestic post-presidency speech to the Economic Development Club of Southwestern Michigan in Benton Harbor on May 28.

The economic development club was founded in 1943 by Lewis Upton who also founded the Whirlpool Corp.

Benton Harbor is home to a long-simmering controversy over plans to build a private golf course in the city’s lakefront park. Last year, after heavy lobbying from local Republican congressman Fred Upton, the National Park Service approved a plan to swap public lakefront and dune property for a series of inland parcels that are contaminated with industrial waste. In an ongoing federal suit locals are suing to reverse federal and state approval of the project.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Muzzle "Award" to Berrien County Judge Dennis Wiley

Annual Muzzle Awards - Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression

...“This year, as with so many in the past, the incidents on which the Muzzles are based range from the imperious to the ridiculous,” says O’Neil. Among the 2009 recipients is a Michigan judge who sentenced a minister [Rev. Pinkney] to 3-10 years in jail because of a letter to the editor...http://www.tjcenter.org/

...Each spring members of the Center’s Board of Trustees decide who should be distinguished (around Mr. Jefferson’s birthday, no less) for First Amendment infractions out of the hundreds of people and institutions nominated.
...The First Amendment to the United States Constitution --
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." http://c-ville.com/index.php?cat=121304062461064&ShowArticle_ID=11800604093733168

Monday, April 06, 2009

High-speed chase ends in death


By K. Allen HP 4/4/09

BENTON TOWNSHIP - A high-speed police chase of an alleged car thief ended in the suspect's death Friday morning after he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a chain-link fence at the corner of Beveridge and Britain avenues in Benton Township, police reported. [WHO DIES AFTER CRASHING INTO A CHAIN-LINK FENCE? - IT GIVES. CAR WOULD MOST LIKELY GO THRU IT]

Township Police Chief Vince Fetke said the lone occupant in the black 1998 Chrysler Cirrus was found unresponsive with trauma to the head at 11:08 a.m. The suspect was also in possession of a handgun, a news release said. [A GUN IS USUALLY PLANTED ON THE BODY]

Fetke said police are not going to release the suspect's identity until relatives are notified of the death. An eyewitness who lives in the neighborhood said the driver was a young black man, probably in his 20s, but she did not know his name.
Fetke said the Cirrus was reported stolen earlier Friday morning. The pursuit began when a patrol officer saw the vehicle pulling onto Britain Avenue from Blaine Avenue and the suspect attempted to elude police.

The chase continued for about a half-mile before it ended one block east of Crystal Ave. at the northeast corner of the schoolyard at Boynton Montessori Magnet School. [TOWNSHIP POLICE HAVE BEEN INFORMED NOT TO DO HIGH SPEED CHASES IN THE COMMUNITY. MOST BH RESIDENTS BELIEVE BENTON TOWNSHIP COPS KILLED SHURN, 11 YR. OLD CHILD TRENT PATTERSON,...AND NOW THIS YOUNG MAN?]

Boynton had a half-day teacher inservice Friday, so students were not at school at the time of the crash, a school employee said as she was leaving the building around 2 p.m.

Fetke said the Berrien County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident at the township's request. The Berrien County prosecutor's office will review the investigation after it is complete, he added. [THESE ARE ALL FOX'S GUARDING THE HENHOUSE - THE INVESTIGATION SHOULD BE TURNED OVER TO THE GRAND RAPIDS OR DETOIT FBI]
drug case--department announced in a press release--weeklong investigation--suspected marijuana--evidence of drug deals--investigation on charges of maintaining a drug house--possession with intent to deliver--evidence of drug deals--drug case-department announced in a press release--weeklong investigation--suspected marijuana--evidence of drug deals--possession with intent to deliver--investigation on charges of maintaining a drug house--drug case--department announced in a press release--weeklong investigation--suspected marijuana--evidence of drug deals--investigation on charges of maintaining a drug house--possession with intent to deliver--evidence of drug deals--drug case--department announced in a press release--possession with intent to deliver--weeklong investigation--suspected marijuana--evidence of drug deals

[Drug busts are formulaic in Berrien County, Michigan. Herald Palladium reporting is formulaic. Master Whirlpool keeps the wheel turning so African-Americans haven't got a chance.]


Deputies in township and BH arrest four for drugs, one for drugs and gun

[Reporter's name withheld - where's Julie?] Fri., 3/27/09 HP
ST. JOSEPH - Berrien Sheriff's deputies arrested five people Thursday in two apparently unrelated drug cases in Benton Harbor and Benton Township, the department announced Thursday in a press release.

Deputies searched 1998 Hatch St. in Benton Township on a warrant from a weeklong investigation and seized about $1,000 worth of suspected marijuana and other evidence of drug deals, the release said. [HERE WE GO WITH THE MARIJUANA AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN: THIS IS ABOUT FED MONEY AND MORE INCARCERATIONS - RUINING LIVES IS WHAT BERRIEN DOES BEST] Deputies seized $355 and a 1994 Chrysler New Yorker under civil forfeiture. [THEY TAKE WHATEVER THEY WANT]

Deputies arrested the resident, Shawn Ezell, 32, for investigation on charges of maintaining a drug house and marijuana possession with intent to deliver.

Elvis Saffell, 45, and Pamela Ezell, 54, also residents of the home, were each arrested for investigation on second-offense charges of maintaining a drug house. [MADE UP TERM] Johnny Clark, 41, was arrested for investigation on second-offense marijuana possession. Clark's address was not known, deputies said. [STOP PLANTING MARIJUANA; HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS?]

The four suspects were sent to the Berrien County jail pending their arraignments in Berrien County Trial Court. [THEY'RE GOING TO BEAT CONFESSIONS OUT OF THEM - FORCE THEM TO SAY THEY WERE IN POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA]

Also Thursday, deputies searched 802 Vineyard Ave. in Benton Harbor on a warrant from a three-week investigation.

Officers seized about $250 worth of suspected marijuana, two loaded handguns and evidence of drug deals. One handgun was reported stolen from the Kalamazoo area in 2004, deputies said. ["SUSPECTED" MARIJUANA? WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE OF DRUG DEALS? DID YOU BUY SOME?]

Carlos Mosby, 36, was arrested and booked at the jail for investigation on second-offense charges of marijuana possession with intent to deliver and maintaining a drug house, and new charges of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is prohibited from having guns because of two previous felony convictions in the state, deputies said.

Mosby is awaiting arraignment. Two other adults at the house were released without charges, and two children there were turned over to a family member. [BERRIEN COUNTY: HAVE YOU NO SHAME? RUNNING AROUND DAY AND NIGHT, KEEPING A COMMUNITY IN A LIVING HELL]
Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense
By Joe Klein, 4/2/09, Time Magazine


...a national conversation has quietly begun about the irrationality of our drug laws. It is going on in state legislatures, like New York's, where the draconian Rockefeller drug laws are up for review; in other states, from California to Massachusetts, various forms of marijuana decriminalization are being enacted. And it has reached the floor of Congress, where Senators Jim Webb and Arlen Specter have proposed a major prison-reform package, which would directly address drug-sentencing policy.

...the U.S. is, by far, the most "criminal" country in the world, with 5% of the world's population and 25% of its prisoners. We spend $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47.5% of all arrests are marijuana-related. That is an awful lot of money, most of it nonfederal, that could be spent on better schools or infrastructure — or simply returned to the public.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What Real Police Accountability Looks Like

Excellent example of professional law enforcement's handling of an incident. This is a great read. Go to: http://www.unomaha.edu/criminaljustice/walker.php

-scroll down to and click on: What Real Police Accountability Looks Like: The 120 Shots Incident
in Los Angeles County, 2005

Friday, April 03, 2009



Use this letter (there's room to sign your name)

Dear Friend,

The language I'm going to use here may seem too strong, and too unbelievable. It's not. The media in Michigan doesn't report this story, so it shocks people to learn about it.

Apartheid conditions of a very serious nature are occurring in Benton Harbor. The words gentrification and even genocide are appropriate descriptors. Those responsible are at the top of the power structure in Berrien County: Rep. Fred Upton and Whirlpool Corporation. They, along with developers, are stealing property along Lake Michigan and in Benton Harbor for the construction of a major resort, including a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. Obviously, this is all being built for very wealthy white people.

The courts and law enforcement agencies have gone outside of the law for many years, keeping Benton Harbor citizens living in a constant state of fear, convicting and imprisoning countless African-Americans (most of whom are innocent we believe), and driving people out of the area by any means necessary.

We must stop Whirlpool, Rep. Upton, and Harbor Shores developers. We are calling for an International Boycott of all Whirlpool Products to begin May 1, and all stores which sell Whirlpool products. Below are some of the brand names which are owned by Whirlpool.

Of course, you have the freedom to begin the boycott now, but the formal kickoff date is May Day, 2009.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Edward Pinkney, 269-925-0001 or banco9342@sbcglobal.net

We appreciate any effort you can make to spread the word:

MAY DAY, 2009

With respect and sincerity,

Dorothy Pinkney

Subsidiaries, US & International:
(One Store: IKEA)
Gladiator GarageWorks
Magic Chef
Eslabon de Lujo

NON-Whirlpool brands:
Frigidaire, General Electric,
LG, Samsung, Viking, Subzero,
Dacor, some Kenmore, Electrolux, etc.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

[Such brave & courageous Berrien County law enforcers always on track, fighting the "drug war." See following article.]
More than 600 pounds of pot found in truck
Hidden compartment held stash worth $600,000 By Kevin Allen H-P 4/1/09
NEW BUFFALO - More than 600 pounds of marijuana will be kept off the streets of Detroit thanks to the keen eyes of a Michigan State Police trooper in New Buffalo Township...
The female driver, who was alone in the truck, was placed in the Berrien County jail pending arraignment.
Our House is on Fire, Part 4: U.S. Drug Policy has Gone to Pot By David A. Love, JD


In a recent online town hall meeting at the White House, President Obama was asked by the online audience whether he thought legalizing marijuana would create jobs and help the economy. It was the most popular question asked at the meeting. “I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” Obama remarked, then adding, “No, I don’t think this would be a good strategy.” He seemed to give a little chuckle, as did the extras who were cast as audience members in the background behind the president.

But this is no laughing matter, and America’s failed war on drugs is serious business. Dead serious, in a literal sense. The United States has a voracious appetite for drugs, this is without question. Over the years - in a move tinged partly with greed, partly with boneheadedness and shortsightedness, and partly with racism - the nation has treated drugs as an issue of morality and criminal justice. As a result of this war on drugs, poor communities and communities of color have been decimated. Rather than target the places where most of the drugs are consumed - in the White suburbs, middle-class areas and wealthy enclaves - law enforcement targets the areas where drug sales and drug use are most conspicuous: the inner city. As a result, 1 in 99 adults is behind bars, including 1 in 36 Latino adults, 1 in 15 Black adults, and 1 in 9 African Americans between the ages of 20 and 34. Yes, I said 1 in 9. Generations are spending their most formidable years in prison over drugs, sometimes most of their lives, when they should be raising their families, contributing to society, getting an education, what have you. Like the effects of the Vietnam War, the damage visited upon these communities by the drug war is irreparable. America has become the most incarcerated nation, with a rate of imprisonment five times higher than the rest of the world.

The effects of these harsh punitive policies, and the criminalization of drugs, have implications beyond the borders of this country. Mexican drug cartels, meeting America’s drug demand, are wreaking havoc on Mexico. That country is in trouble, big trouble. Over 1,100 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico so far this year (6,200 in 2008), due in no small measure to the use of American firearms. Decapitations, kidnappings, torture, the use of hand grenades, and murders with military-style assault weapons are standard fare. And this crisis is spilling over into the United States.

...Poverty in Mexico is the context by which drug cartels gain their recruitment foothold. I suppose that NAFTA, with its empty hopes of prosperity, did not work out as well as some people envisioned it. With poverty fueling the drug trade in Mexico, and America’s appetite for drugs creating the demand, is it really any different from poor people in the U.S. who are lured to the drug trade? I speak of people in this country who lack economic and educational opportunities and are lured by a materialistic culture that tells them to obtain money by any means, without regard for the consequences and who is harmed. You know, kind of like Wall Street executives.

These days, the economic crisis, failed drug policy and failed criminal justice policy [Hello Berrien!!]threaten to intersect in the form of demands for drug decriminalization, particularly the legalization and regulation of marijuana. I wonder what took so long. Already, legislation has been introduced in the California state assembly to legalize the cultivation, possession and sale of marijuana and tax the $14 billion annual crop. Such a move could allow California - a state that cannot afford to pay its state employees amid a budget crisis, spends more on prisons than on public universities, and has been ordered to set one-third of its prisoners free due to overcrowding - to potentially rake in billions of dollars in desperately needed revenue. Prohibition did not work, and fuelled gangsterism in the U.S. Now, alcohol is legal, and some states regulate alcohol through taxation or by selling through state controlled stores.

The time seems ripe to change America’s attitudes towards the criminalization of drugs, and the behemoth prison system which grows from current drug policy and feeds on society. The failed war on drugs has created a 1200% increase in drug incarceration rates since 1980 (from 41,000 people incarcerated to over 500,000), and has disproportionately hurt African Americans. Further, a significant percentage of those who are locked up have no history of violence or high-level drug activity.

In light of this reality, Senator William Webb (D-VA) has introduced a bill called the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. The legislation provides for a commission to review the entire criminal justice system (state and federal), and make recommendations regarding the reform of incarceration policy and drug policy, among other things. We do not know what will become of the senator’s legislation, but we do know that the current ways are unsustainable. And the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.