Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Protest and Press Conference Against Mistreatment of Political Prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney

Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
5920 Second Avenue, Detroit MI 48202

October 28, 2015

For Immediate Release:

  • Protest and Press Conference Against Mistreatment of Political Prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney
  • At the Michigan Department of Corrections, 206 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Mi.
  • Monday, November 2, 2015, at 12 Noon

Activists from across Michigan will be protesting outside the Michigan Department of Corrections offices to demand that Director Heidi Washington immediately restore phone privileges to political prisoner, the Reverend Edward Pinkney. The demonstrators will also be demanding that Director Washington reverse the punitive transfer of Rev. Pinkney to  Marquette Branch Prison (483 miles away from his wife and attorney) and return him to the Lower Peninsula while his appeal proceeds.

Rev. Pinkney was targeted for his political activism in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Leading an effort to recall Mayor Hightower brought a SWAT team to his door in 2014 with charges that five dates on the recall petitions had been altered. Rev. Pinkney was charged with five counts of felony forgery, brought to trial before an all-white jury and convicted with absolutely NO EVIDENCE of his altering anything on the petitions. The prosecutor and judge collaborated in this frame-up, telling the jury that “you don’t need evidence to convict Pinkney.” The fact that Rev. Pinkney chaired protest meetings and spoke at press conferences was introduced to “prove” that he must be guilty! Rev. Pinkney was sentenced to 2.5 to 10 years.

This outrageous frame up is being appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by his attorney as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild, who have filed amicus briefs in the case.

Rev. Pinkney has been targeted since his imprisonment on Dec. 14, 2014, most recently by his politically motivated transfer to Marquette Branch Prison from the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. For several weeks he was housed in a moldy cell, causing him dizziness and difficulty breathing. On October 23 Marquette Prison officials revoked Rev. Pinkney’s telephone privileges, effectively silencing and isolating this political prisoner.

Friends and supporters of Rev. Pinkney fear for his health and his life in the racist atmosphere of Marquette Prison, cut off from any contact with the outside world. On October 27th Rev. Pinkney turned 67 years old.

Supporters of Rev. Pinkney have been flooding the MDOC Directors office with protest phone calls since his transfer and his denial of phone access.


MOBILIZE NOW! Call Marquette Branch Prison Warden to Demand an End to Mistreatment

UPDATE, 10/25

Rev. Pinkney's phone privileges have been revoked!

They are escalating their mistreatment of political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney. We must step up our response!

On Friday, we learned that Rev. Pinkney's phone privileges have been revoked for reasons unknown. We continue to suspect that the recent and escalating mistreatment is politically motivated. First he was transferred 500 miles from home despite being a model prisoner (see below), then he was housed in a moldy cell causing health problems, and now his phone privileges have been revoked without explanation. Without phone communication with his wife and supporters, we cannot monitor Rev. Pinkney's health and safety and cannot even ensure that he is receiving our letters.

Please call the warden at Marquette Branch Prison to protest this mistreatment. Be polite, but firm. Here's a script you can use or adapt:

"My name is _______ and I'm calling from __________. I'm calling about Rev. Edward Pinkney, ID #294671. When he first arrived at Marquette, he was housed in a moldy cell causing health problems. Now his phone privileges have been revoked and his wife cannot monitor his health and safety. I am also concerned about the Reverend's health and welfare. He is a model prisoner. His phone privileges need to be reinstated immediately. He needs to be brought back down state while his appeal continues. I'm also calling MDOC headquarters and my representatives with my concerns."

Phone number906-226-6531 ext. 4 (Warden Robert Napel)

Try to call during business hours (8-4:30), each day this week (10/26-10/30). Also please continue making phone calls to MDOC Director Washington's office (details below). If you're in Michigan, please call your state and federal legislators also!

Our experience so far with MDOC officials has been that they have changed their story and have not given us credible explanations for the transfer. Be polite, but firm, and keep the calls coming. Spread the word!

UPDATE, 10/18

Thank you to all who have called Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Director Washington's office to urge Rev. Pinkney's safe return down state, including Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein.

Your calls are already beginning to help! Rev. Pinkney was recently moved from a location that was so moldy he was dizzy, sick to his stomach, and unable to eat, to quarters that are less moldy (but still in Marquette, 500 miles from his family and attorney).

It is crucial that MDOC know that we care about Rev. Pinkney. Please continue to make calls every day this week (details below). If we keep the pressure up, there is still hope that Rev. Pinkney will be returned down state! Marquette Branch Prison is known to be dangerous, particularly for Black prisoners.

Sending letters to Rev. Pinkney through the mail is also very important--both for his morale and to show MDOC how many people care about his well-being and are carefully watching his case (address below).

Read on for the stunning truth

We know why MDOC has been spinning us, unable to give a consistent or credible explanation for Rev. Pinkney's transfer: because despite MDOC's denials, someone other than MDOC was behind the move. The transfer was politically motivated.

Prisons are communities too, and someone sympathetic to Rev. Pinkney's plight overheard a conversation at Lakeland four days before the transfer. The phrases overheard included:
"He doesn't give us any trouble, but they must really, really hate him." 
"Us" in this case means Lakeland staff and while we don't know exactly who "they" refers to, it's safe to assume it's someone connected to Berrien County. The transfer paperwork was stamped "EXPEDITE." Does that sound like a routine transfer to you? We have decided to go public with this information because of MDOC continuing to give us the run around.

MDOC officials have tried to give a string of excuses for moving Rev. Pinkney to Marquette, excuses that keep changing and don't hold up. First they said he was transferred for his own safety because it is a Level I prison. But Rev. Pinkney had already waived his right to a Level I prison--twice, in writing--because he was safer at Lakeland prison (Level II) near his home, than he is at Marquette. Officials claimed that prisoners don't waive this right, but in truth Level I prisoners are required to sign a waiver any time they set foot in a Level II facility, even for a class, because otherwise MDOC would be liable if they met any harm.

Next MDOC claimed that Marquette was his "proper placement," yet there are at least 5 other Level I prisons in the Lower Peninsula. Then they claimed that he was only at Lakeland C.F. because of court proceedings and that he's "done with his writ," but this is not true either. His appeal hearings begin in Grand Rapids in November and an appeal on his bond decision has been filed with the state supreme court.

Don't let MDOC give us the run around. Keep calling MDOC as long as they fail to justify this move that we know is politically motivated. Continue expressing your concern for his health, safety, and well-being.

Call MDOC Director Heidi Washington to express your concern about Rev. Pinkney's safety and to urge his return down state. Be polite, but firm. Here's a script you can use or adapt:

"My name is _______ and I'm calling from __________. I'm calling about Rev. Edward Pinkney, ID #294671. He was transferred from the Lakeland facility to Marquette, 500 miles from his family. I am concerned about the Reverend's health and welfare. He is a model prisoner. He needs to be brought back down state where his wife and attorney will be able to visit him while his appeal continues."

Phone number: 517-241-7238 (Sandy Simon, Director Washington's assistant)

Try to call during business hours, every day this week (10/26-10/30). If you're not allowed to speak directly to Director Washington, leave a message with her assistant.

Please send letters to:
Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Justice the American Way: Letter from a Prisoner

To: Attorneys at Law

In August of 2011 I was charged with killing a lieutenant. My greatest fear was that the local judicial system (Genesee County) wouldn't grant me a fair trial. This fear was increased once I was actually threatened and later down the line when I was physically assaulted. I have the list of names of the deputies who physically assaulted me. Also the transcripts would show that I've made several attempts to avoid the repeated harassment that I endured in the past two years from Genesee County Sheriff Department. I've filed several motions (change of venue) and these of course were denied by the court's trial judge because of the county's bias towards my case.

I also have the original paper clippings from a local newspaper stating clearly that the head prosecutor of Genesee County (David Leyton) indicated that "there are people in my office who knew the victim personally." I've fired two court-appointed attorneys simply because I've mentioned repeatedly to them about the daily harassment and the physical assaults that I encountered and neither attorney did anything to help me seek justice, nor did they try to get me to a safer county.

I wasn't the only yount man in my case, in fact there were two of us. Both, me and my co-defendant (Ryan Diville) were beaten up on a daily basis for no apparent reason besides that we were charged with killing a local lieutenant sheriff. My co-defendant had taken a plea of 25 years to testify against me; but the main reason why my co-defendant plead out was to release himself away from the daily abuse. I strongly believe that the police obtained statements from my co-defendant by using threats of physical harassment. I come to this conclusion because the police had gotten me to make involuntary statements by using different threats and tactics to get me to give them what they wanted.They also threw my co-defendant in the bull pen for the last nine months before he took the plea.

They've tried to get me to take the same plea but to no avail. Although they beat me, and harassed me, I grew tired of being afraid and doing what they wanted of me. I became stronger than my co-defendant. I chose to fight back by seeking pure justice by going to trial. What they did to us was wrong. This is a form of violation of our due process rights, miscarriage of justice, and cruel and unusual punishment. Both me and my co-defendant were two teens and the system didn't just abuse their power, they violated our constitutional rights and made us both endure physical abuse every other day for two years! The judicial system used threats to divulge information crucial to a criminal prosecution. There are things that the police could do to two seventeen-year-old young men who are charged with killing a retired lieutenant sheriff.

We found ourselves in disfavor with Genesee County. We had no business being held in such a hostile environment awaiting trial for two years. It was improper, unethical and immoral to have us placed in an environment where we are already judged before trial...being coached to say things for court proceedings and enduring physical harm and harassment on a daily basis.

When I tried to seek help from the court I was denied my constitutional rights. I personally tried to file a law suit a year ago, but the deputies would always send me to the hole and trash all my things and throw away all my legal papers.

Everything mentioned in this letter is true and can be proven. I made sure that I left a paper trail to prove these accusations. I was found not guilty of 1) felony murder, 2) second degree murder, 3 armed robbery, and 4) carjacking. But because they overcharged me I was found guilty on 1) first degree home invasion, 2) rec/conc firearms, 3) larceny firearm, 4) safe breaking, and 5) felony firearm.

This is my first time in the system and I still received a lengthy sentence of 26 years, when my guideline on my PSI report was 45-96 months. Genesee County showed me and my co-defendant cruel and unusual punishment simply because we were charged with murdering a lieutenant who the whole city of Flint knew.

I am suffering now mentally and physically from what they did to me for two years. I would like to file a lawsuit for $10 million in punitive damages. If you're interested in my case please contact me as soon as possible. I can't let Genesee County get away with this injustice. If I don't seek justice for what they did to me, then I believe the injustice would continue! Injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. My case is in the process of an appeal. Also a book about my tragic experience is underway. Also I'm aware of the Statute of Limitations, the time frame deadline would end August of 2014. This took place from August 2011-Oct 2013. I also have witnesses; one is a sheriff who is employed at the jail. If you have any questions please contact me. I hope to hear from you soon.

-Aaron Robinson, #858448
Lakeland Correctional Facility

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Send Rev. Pinkney Some Love On His Birthday!

Fellow Activists, Supporters, Organizations Working on Behalf of Rev. Pinkney:

First, we very much appreciate the calls flooding the MDOC. We encourage everyone to keep calling as we believe it is working and it's our best chance to bring Rev. Pinkney back downstate! Thank you!

Second, did you know that OCTOBER 27 IS REV. PINKNEY'S 67th BIRTHDAY? Will you SEND HIM SOME LOVE by participating in the $67 for 67 years fundraiser and by sending cards to him? (Address is below.)

Here are some CREATIVE IDEAS to help raise donations:
  • Get friends, neighbors, co-workers to have a rummage sale and ask everyone to donate a percentage of their sales.
  • Host a potluck dinner at church or someone's home. Ask everyone to bring a dish and a donation. If those attending don't know about Rev. Pinkney, here's your chance to spread the word.
  • Get a birthday card and ask co-workers, friends, neighbors, church members, etc. to sign the card for Rev. Pinkney's 67th birthday and ask for any amount they can give toward this fundraiser.

We know not everyone can raise $67, and gifts in any amount are deeply appreciated. Coming together is how we make a difference.

What better way to celebrate the Reverend's 67th birthday than by getting people together, telling his story, and asking for some help?


1) Send in the donation via PayPal on (or click this direct Donate button)
2) Mail a check or money order (made out to BANCO) to:
Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union Street
Benton Harbor, MI 49022


Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
Marquette Branch Prison
1960 US Hwy. 41 South
Marquette, MI  49855

Again, thank you for all you do!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Detroit Light Brigade Stands Up: Free Rev. Pinkney!

Thursday evening members of the Detroit Light Brigade held signs spelling "Free Rev. Pinkney" on the I-75 overpass near Mexicantown in Detroit. Drivers northbound and southbound couldn't miss the sign--on the same freeway that Rev. Pinkney's loved ones will have to drive nearly 500 miles to visit him at Marquette Branch Prison, where he was unjustly transferred last week.

Thank you, Detroit Light Brigade!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"To My Brother Rev. Pinkney"

Dear Rev.,

I would like to express my profound gratitude for your assistance. Also I must say that you inspire me to follow in your footsteps. I have three debts in this lifetime: 1) to God, 2) to myself, 3) to my people. Martin Luther King, Jr., showed me that "if a man hasn't found something he's willing to die for, then he isn't fit to live." Once you become dedicated to a cause, personal security is not the goal. It is much greater than that! What will happen to you personally does not matter. Our cuase, my brother, our worth dying for.

Please understand that you can turn suffering into a creative force. I never forget learning years ago about the three little girls who were blown away in a Birmingham church bombing: Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley. Their deaths showed me that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.

I will help you in your quest for justice, peace, and righteousness, my brother.

Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: Reverend Pinkney Needs Our Urgent Calls

Copyright Jill Stein

I last saw Rev. Pinkney in court 6 months ago for his appeal hearing. His so called crime was initiating a recall petition to hold the Benton Harbor mayor accountable for colluding with the Whirlpool Corporation to defeat a tax initiative desperately needed by the town. Whirlpool’s job cuts years earlier had left the town in dire straights.

There had been no evidence of Rev. Pinkney altering dates on the petitions, the allegation for which he was convicted by an all white jury. Seeing him handcuffed in court like a dangerous criminal for a petty crime he did not commit and never should have been jailed for in the first place still makes my blood boil.

It is Whirlpool executives that should be in jail for land theft – namely stealing the jewel of Benton Harbor, an invaluable waterfront public park that had been given in perpetuity to the children of the town. Whirlpool had shamelessly turned it into an exclusive Jack Nicklaus signature golf course as an attraction for its Harbor Shores luxury condo developed by the Whirlpool Foundation.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

BANCO Defense Fundraising Campaign Launches Today!

What if you lived in a world where those with money and power could silence all dissent simply by locking up their opponents in prison? Isn’t that the definition of fascism? If we let Berrien County do this to Rev. Edward Pinkney, what hope is left for the people of Benton Harbor? And if they can do this to Benton Harbor, what hope is there for any of us?

If you've donated to BANCO before, thank you for your past support. It allows BANCO to continue to fight with Benton Harbor, a poor, Black community fighting for its very survival against corporate greed.

We know the economy is bad and that many good causes need help. But if you can, please give to BANCO to support the defense of Rev. Pinkney and the struggle of the people of Benton Harbor. He has been transferred to a prison in Marquette near Canada, far from family and friends. We need your help right now. Whether $5, $20, $100, or more, every gift helps. Together we can accomplish what we can't alone.

What's at stake?
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 leading the resistance is Rev. Edward Pinkney.
-Hugh “Buck” Davis, Michigan civil rights attorney
Funds are needed for:
  1. Legal defense (fees and expenses)
  2. A billboard on I-94 near Benton Harbor
  3. Half-page newspaper ad in major state newspapers
  4. 1,000 “Free Pinkney” T-shirts to help raise awareness and more funds
The billboard with a message about the ongoing corruption in Berrien County will be up during the Senior PGA championship. This event occurs annually at the Harbor Shores resort built on land stolen from the people of Benton Harbor. Just because Rev. Pinkney is in prison doesn't mean we can stop fighting the hypocrisy of the PGA and the destructive actions of Whirlpool. The billboard costs between $1,500 and $2,500 for four weeks. Design work will be donated. We need your donation today so we can reserve the billboard, print the half-page ad, and print T-shirts asap.
Donate securely online through Paypal at the BANCO website (click the donate button):
The legal battle continues. After Rev. Pinkney was denied bond pending appeal in a 2-1 decision by a Michigan Court of Appeals panel of judges, the appeal was submitted on September 21st. We will pursue all legal options to fight for Rev. Pinkney's freedom and clear his name. The outrageous violations of due process and Constitutional rights that authorities in Berrien County use to repress Rev. Pinkney are one sign of how critical his voice and leadership are to helping the people fight racism and repression.
Rev. Pinkney helps people, especially young Black men. They are giving all these young men all this time for petty crimes. Everyone I know is getting 20 years or more. What are the children going to do? The parents, women are crying over their sons. What preacher besides Rev. Pinkney is there standing with the people?
-Marquette Coates, Benton Harbor resident
We can't continue the fight without the minimum financial resources necessary to fight a legal case and publicize the cause. If we don't act, Rev. Pinkney will spend two-and-a-half to ten years in prison and in the meantime the genocide-by-gentrification in Benton Harbor will continue.
Thanks for your help. Donate securely online through Paypal at the BANCO website (click the donate button):
Or send checks made to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Other ways you can help:

Send letters: Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855

Boycott: Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana, and Kitchen Aid

Background, timeline, and links to additional reading: Why Is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Ring of Snitches: How Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men

From Ring of Snitches

Agacinski, who recently headed the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, says nothing was ever done to address the concerns he outlined.
"I was low-middle-ranking management. I wasn't part of top level," he told Truthout. "Nobody ever told me anything else and I have no idea if [the memo] was acted upon."
One informant Agacinski mentioned by name in the memo was Lacino Hamilton's snitch, Olivera Rico Cowen, a man living with AIDS. In July 1994, three weeks before Hamilton was arrested for his foster mother's murder, Cowen was granted a radically reduced sentence for cooperating with homicide detectives. Instead of serving five to 15 years in prison, he would only have to do a year - as long as he continued to cooperate with homicide investigators.
But Cowen didn't live that long. He spent the last months of his life on the ninth floor of the police department, loyally trying to coerce a confession out of Hamilton.
"Reading and Rebelling"
Lacino Hamilton rejects the legitimacy of the entire carceral system, and says his resistance to the system's dictates has likely made his life harder in his current prison, the already violent Kinross Correctional Facility. Over the last 19 years, Hamilton frequently bounced around different prisons until ending up at Kinross, near the Canadian border.
"I don't know how to reconcile or accept this. I just don't know how, so I don't try," he told Truthout, adding that he spent much of his time "reading and rebelling."
Even after nearly two decades of imprisonment, Hamilton rages against prisons, police and a whole social order founded on oppression.
"How some of us live is not a mistake; neither is it the product of a broken system," he wrote in an essay from prison. "We live like that because it is profitable to a lot of people businesses: pawn shops, pay-day loan services, slum lords, creditors, social services, and others who traffic in misery."
These days, Hamilton has reason to feel optimistic. After writing to thousands of journalists, lawyers and colleges to plead his case, he finally got in touch with Claudia Whitman from the NDRAN, who supplied this reporter with most of the documents behind this story. Whitman also made contact with Christopher Brooks, the prisoner who says he knows who really killed Hamilton's foster mother. With Whitman's help, Hamilton was able to convince an up-and-coming attorney to work to overturn his conviction pro bono.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

2-Tiered "Justice" System documented in this book

Starting with Ford's pardon of Nixon, Greenwald documents the various ways that political and financial elites have developed a two-tiered justice system with the elites generally immune to the laws and the rest of us harshly punished for even the most minor crime. 
[Ordinary people suffer unjustly, ESPECIALLY in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and may god forbid they are forced into a Berrien County courtroom.]

"America Has the Greatest Legal System in the World"

From The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Of all the reasons that we fail to know the truth about mass incarceration, though, one stands out: a profound misunderstanding regarding how racial oppression actually works. If someone were to visit the United States from another country (or another planet) and ask: Is the U.S. criminal justice system some kind of tool of racial control? Most Americans would swiftly deny it. Numerous reasons would leap to mind why that could not possibly be the case. The visitor would be told that crime rates, black culture, or bad schools were to blame. “The system is not run by a bunch of racists,” the apologist would explain. “It’s run by people who are trying to fight crime.” That response is predictable, because most people assume that racism, and racial systems generally, are fundamentally a function of attitudes. Because mass incarceration is officially colorblind, it seems inconceivable that the system could function much like a racial caste system. The widespread and mistaken belief that racial animus is necessary for the creation and maintenance of racialized systems of social control is the most important reason that we, as a nation, have remained in deep denial.


The hidden racial prejudice. It is part of a process under way all across America in various forms. You'd better keep your mind on your freedom and freedom on your mind, because the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way. -Rev. Pinkney

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Keep Your Mind on Your Freedom and Freedom on Your Mind!

From The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

We may think we know how the criminal justice system works. Television is overloaded with fictional dramas about police, crime, and prosecutor shows such as Law and Order. These fictional dramas, like the evening news, tend to focus on individual stories of crime, victimization, and punishment.

A charismatic police officer, investigator, or prosecutor struggles with his own demons while heroically trying to solve a horrible crime. He ultimately achieves a personal and moral victory by finding the bad guy and throwing him in jail. That is the made-for-TV version of the criminal justice system. It perpetuates the myth that the primary function of the system is to keep our streets safe and our homes secure by rooting out dangerous criminals and punishing them. These television shows, especially those that romanticize drug-law enforcement, are the modern-day equivalent of the old movies portraying happy slaves, the fictional gloss placed on a brutal system of racialized oppresion and control.

Those who have been swept within the criminal justice system know that the way the system actually works bears little resemblance to what happens on television or in movies. Full-blown trials of innocents rarely occur, many people never even meet with an attorney, witnesses are routinely paid and coerced by the government, police regularly stop and search people for no reason whatsoever, penalties for many crimes are so severe that innocent people plead guilty, accepting plea bargains to avoid harsh mandatory sentences, and children, even as young as fourteen, are sent to prisons. Rules of law and procedure, such as guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, can be found easily by all-white juries.

We shall see how the system of mass incarceration actually works. Our focus is the war on drugs. The reason is simple. Convictions for drug offenses are the single most important cause of the explosion of incarceration rates in the United States. Drug offenses alone account for two-thirds of the rise in the federal and state inmate population and more than half of the rise in state prisoners between 1985 and 2000. Approximately a half million people are in prison or jail for drug offenses today compared to an estimated 41,100 in 1980, an increase of 1,100 percent. Drug arrests have tripled since 1980. As a result, more than 31 million people have been arrested for drug offenses since the drug war began. To put the matter in perspective consider this: there are more people in prison and jail today just for drug offenses than were incarcerated for all reasons in 1980. Nothing has contributed more to the systematic mass incarceration of people of color in the United States than the war on drugs.

The myth is that the war on drugs is aimed at ridding the nation of drug kingpins or big time dealers--nothing could be further from the truth! You must keep your mind on your freedom, keep freedom on your mind! -Rev. Pinkney

Monday, October 05, 2015

The Unrevealed, Hidden Racial Prejudice in Berrien County, Michigan

The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor shows that the corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way. It is part of a process underway across America in various forms. The race card was played to show corporate power and Mayor James Hightower was Race Managing the Black citizens of Benton Harbor for Whirlpool Corporation.

The recall election was scheduled to be held May 6, 2014, but James Hightower called in the county big guns: Sheriff Paul Bailey, Prosecutor Mike Sepic, and Judge Sterling Schrock.

The Berrien County Sheriff's Department began investigating the petition campaign, intimidating residents, kicking in doors. Three Sheriff deputies surrounded the homes of people who signed the petition against Hightower.

In April 2014, the prosecutor decided to charge Rev. Pinkney with vote fraud, even with no evidence (five felony forgeries) and soon after a judge cancelled the recall election. In an alarming display of force over a recall petition, a SWAT team was sent to Rev. Pinkney's home to look for him. Rev. Pinkney was not at home.

Robert Wooley, a Berrien County Commissioner, had been forging checks for over seven years and was never charged with forgery. Robert Wooley stole more than a million dollars and was charged with only one count of embezzlement.

On Nov. 3, 2014, Rev. Pinkney was convicted by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth: the unrevealed hidden racial prejudices, deeply held. The verdict was not based on a desire to achieve a just, fair, or moral outcome.

Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced Rev. Pinkney to two-and-a-half to ten years in prison with no evidence. Evidence does not lie, judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and all-white juries do! More than 130 letters of support were ignored by the corrupt Judge Schrock.

Judge Sterling Schrock twice denied bond pending appeal and then attempted to extort $1,736.17 in "restitution" to Mayor Hightower for alleged economic damage and psychological damage to his weak brain.

The Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the motion for bond pending appeal. We will be appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court very soon.

The Appeal was filed for the conviction to be reversed on Sept. 21, 2015. We believe we will be successful. The hypocrisy of Berrien County has no limits.

-Rev. Pinkney

Over 100 Innocent Prisoners Convicted of Murder on False Testimony

Informant Edward Allen estimated that over 100 people who convicted of murder were set up by Detroit police based on false testimony

In a phone interview with Truthout, Allen said detectives supplied him and other informants with prewritten statements to memorize before the preliminary hearing of the accused men. In those statements, informants would say that the accused person confessed to their crime in a way that "filled in" the details detectives were missing to connect the suspect to their crime. Often, Hewitt said, informants had familial or fraternal connections to the men they snitched on, indicating they were all scooped up from the same underclass milieu.

It's hard to gauge how many cases relied on informant testimony, and how critically. Hewitt estimated that between just two informants he personally knew (of over 100 informants), upwards of 75 men were convicted of murder in the mid-1990s. By another account from Detroit Police Sgt. Dale Collins in the homicide division a single informant helped police with at least 100 cases before 1994.

In 2013, a defense attorney looking into a prisoner's innocence claim hired a private attorney to interview another snitch. Edward Allen told the investigator that witnesses on the ninth floor of the Detroit Police Department were allowed visitors who brought food and drugs from outside, and claims he even had sex with one of the homicide detectives.

He also reveals in a letter to a federal circuit judge that he spend two years imprisoned on the ninth floor and hoped to extract a favorable plea deal for helping the police with false testimony on five different murder cases.

Allen estimated in another letter to Larry Smith, a man convicted largely because of Allen's testimony, that over 100 people who were convicted of murder were st up by Detroit police based on false informant testimony. Allen, who is currently incarcerated, was released from prison in 2008, but sentenced to three years in 2012 after violating his probation.

The Berrien County trial court continues to provide false testimony and all-white juries, with hidden, unrevealed racial prejudices. This never, ever makes the news.

-Rev. Pinkney

Reference: Ring of Snitches

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Paxton Family and Dave Holgate Have a Long History of Racist Behavior in News Information!

I have investigated the Paxton family, known for being racist. They are an entrenched banking family in Kentucky with an extreme conservative slant. As for slave ownership, it's not quite clear. Several families we spoke to stated the Paxton family were slave merchants.

The Paxton family have a direct line to Paducah, Kentucky, Mayor William Paxton III who uses Paxton Media Group (PMG) to boost his political power.

The Paxton family owns several newspapers around the country, including the Herald Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan) which is the author of racism in the surrounding cities.

The central feature of the town seems to be the country club and the golf course around the Paxtons and the Cochoran family.

I think the most likely connection to Whirlpool is David Holgate, who is the publisher for PMG and the Herald Palladium in the Benton Harbor area. David Holgate is following Whirlpool on his LinkedIn. David Holgate is group President at PMG (August 2000 to present). He exhibits racist behavior as a group president currently overseeing 11 dailies and 3 weeklies in Indiana and Michigan. All of these newspapers provide information that is considered racist through print and their digital platforms throughout the market they serve.

David Holgate we believe is married to Gabrielle Holgate, in store marketing manager for Kitchen Aid Brand at Whirlpool Corporation headquarters. It appears Gabrielle may have been given this position for who she may know: her husband and the Paxton family.

This may explain the vicious, cowardly attack on Rev. Pinkney. Dave Holgate, the publisher of the Herald Palladium newspaper, refuses to write the true story about Benton Harbor, home to Harbor Shores, because Whirlpool Corporation does not want you to read it.

Why would any business, which knows what is necessary for a project to succeed, build a project of this size in Benton Harbor unless it was planning to take over the city? Benton Harbor citizens have so many basic needs unmet! The funding that could have helped went to the resort and golf course instead! Did the administration of the city of Benton Harbor make a decision to care for their people or to care for the corporation Whirlpool? Where are all the jobs that Harbor Shores promised to the residents of Benton Harbor? What are the real benefits of the Harbor Shores project to the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan? Whirlpool Corporation's and the Herald Palladium's hypocrisy has no limits.

We must stand together and fight back! The Paxton family friends from Paducah, Kentucky, were among the first to use the PGA Tour Harbor Shores golf course run by Whirlpool/Kitchen Aid before anyone else. I believe there is a connection between Whirlpool and the Herald Palladium. We must stop Whirlpool's destruction of Benton Harbor!

-Rev. Pinkney

Woman Flipped Off the Mayor, So He Had a SWAT Team Raid Her House

Piedmont, MO – Tina Warren has been fighting her local government over rising water bills, leaving her at odds with the town’s mayor, Bill Kirkpatrick. Warren has been running a number of campaigns against his policies, and she has even been flipping the mayor the middle finger every time she sees him.

Tina’s local activism made her a target for the local police, who pulled her over several times, reportedly demanding that she stop a petition drive that she was organizing about water bills.

According to Warren, her house was also raided and searched for drugs on Kirkpatrick’s orders. Now she is filing a harassment lawsuit against the city, stating that the mayor and the local police colluded to intimidate her and prevent her activism.

Read more....

Sounds like mayors everywhere are taking a cue from Benton Harbor's Mayor James Hightower! SWAT teams and intimidation in response to civil society and activism.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Detective Supplied Informants with Prewritten Statements

On at least one occasion, the veneer of secrecy over the Detroit Police Department's homicide division was punctured, giving a fleeting glimpse of systemic corruption. In 1997, Detroit native Dwight Carl Love was freed from a Michigan prison after 15 years.

He wasn't exonerated by DNA tests, but through the efforts of a tenacious defense attorney named Sarah Hunter with a whistle blower inside Detroit's homicide unit. Based on a tip from the whistle blower, Hunter forced Detroit police to turn over evidence. Berrien County is notorious for hiding evidence. They hid evidence from trial that supported Love's innocence, evidence does not lie, prosecutors and law enforcement do. He was exonerated because of the police department's failure to present exculpatory evidence to the court.

According to an affidavit for attorney Hunter, the whistle blower, who allegedly committed suicide less than a year after meeting Hunter, said that police routinely hid exculpatory evidence from prosecutors and judges, and prosecutors hid evidence from defense attorneys.

In the years after Hunter obtained the Love evidence, she claimed to Claudia Whitman that Detroit police intimidated her by beating prisoners if they spoke to her. Neither Hunter nor the police responded to Truthout's request for comment.

Besides the attorney and the whistle blower, evidence of systemic corruption within Detroit's homicide unit in the mid-1990s comes from alleged informants themselves. Their claims involve dozens and dozens of cases of men who are still in prison across Michigan.

Before Jonath Hewitt was sentenced to four years in prison in 1994, he says he spent months in a cell on the ninth floor of the Detroit Police Department waiting for his trial. While there, he claims, homicide detectives offered him and at least six other prisoners food and drink, conjugal visits, time to watch television, and, most importantly, the promise of lenient sentences if they testified against other prisoners also being held in the jail cells on the ninth floor. Hewitt says police told informants that a deal for their reduced sentence would be hatched after the suspect's trial so that they would not have to acknowledge it in court, which could have swayed jurors away from the conviction.

The detectives would provide him with the necessary information, a prewritten statement to memorize before the preliminary hearing. This is happening all over the state and especially in Berrien County, Michigan. Evidence does not lie! But judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement do lie. When will the people take a stand? It is not just one thing, it is everything. In the name of tough on crime and law and order--only in America! Who will be next to go to prison?

-Rev. Pinkney

Reference: Ring of Snitches

False Conviction

We are living in the time when judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and all-white juries lie. A person can publish an article in the People's Tribune quoting the Biblical admonition from Deuteronomy that God will punish those who act unjustly against others. Trial udge Alfred Butzbaugh declared that this amounted to a personal threat against him and his family. Rev. Pinkney was found guilty of violating his probation and jailed. In early 2008, another judge, Dennis Wiley (a known racist who practices racial prejudice openly) sentenced me to 3 to 10 years in prison. Judge Dennis Wiley doubled the recommendation of the probation department and the prosecutor for quoting the Bible in the People's Tribune newspaper. Only in America.

All across Michigan and the country, thousands of people and many institutions rallied to my defense, including community, labor, religious, and other activists, attorneys, the People's Tribune, other newspapers, and other media. As a result of the fight a Michigan appellate court order eventually overturned the lower court decision. I had spent nearly a year in prison for quoting Deuteronomy 29, starting with verse 15.

On No. 3, 2014, I was convicted by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth. They based their verdict on unrevealed, deeply held prejudices. This verdict was not based on a desire to achieve a just, fair, or moral outcome.

I was convicted with absolutely no evidence, no eyewitness, no confession, no crime scene. The forensic handwriting examiner from the Michigan State Police indicated that he could not determine who made the changes to the petitions; the person who signed the petitions could have even made the changes. I did not have exclusive possession of the petitions. We believe the Berrien County criminal enterprise is behind this set up.

In the Berrien County courthouse, this was a modern-day lynching by a modern-day lynch mob.

In 1960 they wore white robes and masks to symbolize their color and to sometimes act like ghosts. Today they wear suits, ties and black robes to symbolize their color. We must not forget our friendly American police officers whose job is to serve and protect and who have murdered at least two people every single day of the year.

Evidence does not lie! But judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, and all-white juries do! We must stand together, Black, poor white, Xicano, and all others. Judge Stelring Schrock, Prosecutor Mike Sepic, Sheriff Bailey, County Clerk Sharon Tyler, Election Clerk Carolyn Toliver, and Race Manager James Hightower, God will punish you!

-Rev. Pinkney