Friday, December 19, 2014

Rev. Edward Pinkney’s statement to the Judge

Community Leader Jailed for 2 1/2 to 10 years
This Fight Will Go On Until We Win!

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


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

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
Free Pinkney! There will be an appeal. For information on future efforts, go to We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source. Copyright@2015 People’s Tribune. Visit