Here's what people who don't live in Benton Harbor will not believe is happening, but it is: the sheriff and his deputies are kicking in doors, and surrounding the homes of people who signed a petition to recall Mayor Hightower, Whirlpool stooge. This is violent voter suppression and intimidation.
Berrien County sheriff's dept. is up to their old tricks. Voter suppression is being carried out so it will be harder for the elderly and poor black residents to vote and sign recall petitions. These efforts are hardly a secret in this city.
Mayor Hightower is corrupt. This is the same mayor who filed a false campaign report, a criminal action, after he received $4000.00 from Whirlpool vice president Jeff Noel. Hightower, in a desperation move, is challenging a recall election which would remove him from office. The petitions for recall were filled with more than enough valid signatures than the required number.
Hightower has filed a false report with the Berrien County sheriff and with prosecutor Michael Sepic in an effort to save himself. He forced friends, who signed a recall petition, to claim they didn't know they were signing a recall. But the petitions clearly stated the campaign was for a recall of Mayor Hightower.
The egregious violations of civil rights that kept so many from voting are still alive in different forms. We no longer have poll taxes, nor do we force black people to recite the Declaration of Independence before being given a ballot. But those who dare to register to vote and sign recall petitions can easily end up in the lake or in the Berrien County jail. These horrors are happening today in Berrien County.
The right to vote and to sign a petition is protected for all citizens. Harassing and intimidating voters who sign recall petitions is illegal. Why is it permitted in Benton Harbor?
The politicians and corporations behind this must be stopped. Voter suppression is an old tactic which has gotten worse today in Benton Harbor. Whirlpool is protecting their interests.
Please call US Attorney Patrick Miles Jr., 616-456-2404, and ask for a complete
investigation of Sheriff Bailey and Prosecutor Mike Sepic as soon as possible.
Rev. Edward Pinkney