Thursday, August 18, 2016

Killer Instincts: When Police Become Judge, Jury and Executioner

Killer Instincts: When Police Become Judge, Jury and Executioner

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Any police officer who shoots to kill is playing with fire.
In that split second of deciding whether to shoot and where to aim, that officer has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner over a fellow citizen. And when an officer fires a killing shot at a fellow citizen not once or twice but three and four and five times, he is no longer a guardian of the people but is acting as a paid assassin. In so doing, he has short-circuited a legal system that was long ago established to protect against such abuses by government agents.
These are hard words, I know, but hard times call for straight talking.
We’ve been dancing around the issue of police shootings for too long now, but we’re about to crash headlong into some harsh realities if we don’t do something to ward off disaster.
You’d better get ready.
It’s easy to get outraged when police wrongfully shoot children, old people and unarmed citizens watering their lawns or tending to autistic patients. It’s harder to rouse the public’s ire when the people getting shot and killed by police are suspected of criminal activities or armed with guns and knives. Yet both scenarios should be equally reprehensible to anyone who values human life, due process and the rule of law.
For instance, Paul O’Neal was shot in the back and killed by police as he fled after allegedly sideswiping a police car during a chase. The 18-year-old was suspected of stealing a car.
Korryn Gaines was shot and killed—and her 5-year-old son was shot—by police after Gaines resisted arrest for a traffic warrant and allegedly threatened to shoot police. Police first shot at Gaines and then opened fire when she reportedly shot back at them.
Loreal Tsingine was shot and killed by a police officer after she approached him holding a small pair of medical scissors. The 27-year-old Native American woman was suspected of shoplifting.
None of these individuals will ever have the chance to stand trial, be found guilty or serve a sentence for their alleged crimes because a police officer—in a split second—had already tried them, found them guilty and sentenced them to death.
In every one of these scenarios, police could have resorted to less lethal tactics.
They could have attempted to de-escalate and defuse the situation.
They could have acted with reason and calculation instead of reacting with a killer instinct.
That police instead chose to fatally resolve these encounters by using their guns on fellow citizens speaks volumes about what is wrong with policing in America today, where police officers are being dressed in the trappings of war, drilled in the deadly art of combat, and trained to look upon “every individual they interact with as an armed threat and every situation as a deadly force encounter in the making.”
Contrast those three fatal police shootings with a police intervention that took place in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia.
On. Aug. 1, 2016, police responded to a call about a possible abduction of a 17-year-old girl. When they confronted the 46-year-old “suspect,” he reportedly “threw a trash can at them and then charged them with a knife.” When he shouted at them to “shoot me,” they evaded him. When they refused to fire their guns, he stabbed himself in the chest. The officers then tasered the man in order to subdue him.
So what’s the difference between the first three scenarios and the last, apart from the lack of overly aggressive policing or trigger-happy officers?
Ultimately, it comes down to training and accountability.
It’s the difference between police officers who rank their personal safety above everyone else’s and police officers who understand that their jobs are to serve and protect. It’s the difference between police trained to shoot to kill and police trained to resolve situations peacefully. Most of all, it’s the difference between police who believe the law is on their side and police who know that they will be held to account for their actions under the same law as everyone else.
Unfortunately, more and more police are being trained to view themselves as distinct from the citizenry, to view their authority as superior to the citizenry, and to view their lives as more precious than those of their citizen counterparts. Instead of being taught to see themselves as mediators and peacemakers whose lethal weapons are to be used as a last resort, they are being drilled into acting like gunmen with killer instincts who shoot to kill rather than merely incapacitate.
We’re approaching a breaking point.
This policing crisis is far more immediate and concerning than the government’s so-called war on terror or drugs.
So why isn’t more being done to address it?
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there’s too much money at stake, for one, and too much power.
Those responsible for this policing crisis are none other than the police unions that are helping police officers evade accountability for wrongdoing; the police academies that are teaching police officers that their lives are more valuable than the lives of those they serve; a corporate military sector that is making a killing by selling military-grade weapons, equipment, technology and tactical training to domestic police agencies; a political establishment that is dependent on campaign support and funding from the powerful police unions; and a police state that is transforming police officers into extensions of the military in order to extend its reach and power.
This is no longer a debate over good cops and bad cops.
It’s a tug-of-war between the constitutional republic America’s founders intended and the police state we are fast becoming.
As former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper recognizes, “Policing is broken. Tragically, it has been broken from the very beginning of the institution. It has evolved as a paramilitary, bureaucratic, organizational arrangement that distances police officers from the communities they’ve been sworn to protect and serve. When we have shooting after shooting after shooting that most people would define as at least questionable, it’s time to look, not just at a few bad apples, but the barrel. And I’m convinced that it is the barrel that is rotted.
So how do we fix what’s broken, stop the senseless shootings and bring about lasting reform?
For starters, stop with the scare tactics.
Continue reading:

Preachers Promote the System Against the People

We preachers have also been tempted by the enticing cult of conformity. Seduced by the success symbols of the world, we have measured our achievements by the size of our parsonage. We have become showmen to please the whims and caprices of the people. We preach comforting sermons and avoid saying anything from our pulpit that might disturb the respectable view of the comfortable members of our congregations. Have we ministers of Jesus Christ sacrificed truth on the alter of self-interest and, like Pilate, yielded our convictions to the demand of the crowd?
We need to recapture the gospel glow of the early Christians, who were non-conformists in the truest sense of the word and refused to shape their witness according to the mundane patterns of the world. They willingly sacrifice fame, fortune, and life itself on behalf of a cause they knew to be right. Small, they were giants. Their powerful gospel put an end to such barbaric evils as infanticide and bloody gladiatorial contests.
The Church became so entrenched in wealth and prestige that it began to dilute the strong demands of the gospel and to conform to the ways of the world, and ever since the Church has been a weak and ineffectual trumpet making uncertain sounds. If the Church of Jesus Christ is to regain once more its power, message, and authentic ring, it must conform only to the demand of the gospel.
The hope of a secure and liveable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist.
The system is designed to conquer and divide which includes the Church. The system has many tools, such as the Church, court system, food, clothing, and housing. The have's and the have not's. The rich against the poor.
As the economic crisis continues to grip America and threatens to get deeper, people in the working class communities across the country are beginning to stand up and demand that the government serve the people's interests, not those of the corporations. The Church has refused to take a stand, but the people as they stood up have come under fire from the corporations and the government. This is especially true in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
This is a call for action for churches, organizations, and individuals who believe in justice to show up in Benton Harbor to rally in honor of the truth and justice. Fifty years after the fight for civil rights and human rights we still are faced with brutality, inequality, and racism. Our attempts at resistance are often met with violence. We must confront this fascist government.

Our Struggle!

On March 2, 1955, Claudette Coluin, a teenager is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person.
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Park is arrested in Montgomery for the same action Claudette Coluin had taken, refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person.
On December 5, 1955 the Montgomery Bus Boycott begins and lasts over a year, until the buses are integrated. The Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) is formed to coordinate the boycott and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is elected president.
November 1956: The United States Supreme Court rules that Montgomery bus segregation laws are unconstitutional. On December 21, the boycott ends in victory and the buses are integrated.
September 1957: Arkansas governor Orval Faubus orders the National Guard to keep 9 black students from integrating Little Rock's Central High School. President Eisenhower orders the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to protect the Little Rock 9.
In April 1963 massive protest demonstrations take place in Birmingham to challenge segregation. Led by police commissioner Eugene Bull Connor, the police attack protesters with dogs and fire hoses. Thousands of the protesters are arrested, many of them children. So many thousands of children are involved that the campaign becomes known as the Children Crusade.
June 1963 Alabama Governor George Wallace tries to prevent integration of the University of Alabama by standing in the doorway of the University of Alabama.
September 15, 1963: The Sixteenth Street Baptists in Birmingham are bombed. Four young black girls are killed in the explosion.
Feb 18, 1965: civil rights worker Jimmie Lee Jackson is beaten and shot by state police in Marion, Alabama. He dies eight days later.
March 7, 1965: Civil rights demonstrators begin a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson and demand voting rights for blacks. They are brutally beaten by police officers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The brutal attack becomes known as "Blood Sunday".
On March 9, 1965 Reverend James Reeb, a Boston minister, who had traveled to Selma to join the demonstration, is viciously beaten by a white gang and dies two days later.
On March 25, 1965 Viola Liuzzo is killed by Klansmen while driving demonstrators between Selma and Montgomery. She had come to Selma from Detroit to join the protest.
On August 20, 1965 Jonathan Daniel, seminary student and civil rights activist, is shot and killed at point blank range in Nayneville, Alabama. His killer is acquitted by an all white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth: We must confront this corrupt system, the corrupt system will never change unless we confront it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Benton Harbor's Greatest Basketball Player

Benton Harbor player Kysre Gondrezick wins Miss Basketball for the state of Michigan, but she could have been Miss Basketball for the whole country. The Black Autonomy Network Community Organization is proud to have watched Kysre Gondrezick develop into the young woman that she is.
Kysre Gondrezick is Miss Basketball. The award honoring a Michigan top senior on a girl's basketball team was announced in March of this year by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan and the Detroit Free Press.
Kysre Gondrezick averaged a state record 40.5 points per game and broke a state mark of 72 points in her tournament opener this year before being eliminated in the district finals.
The 5'9" guard from Benton Harbor won easily over Muskegon Mardrekia Cook. Gondrezick signed to play at Michigan next season, making her the first Miss Basketball winner to choose to be a Wolverine in four years and the second in more than a decade.
When I speak of Kyrse Gondrezick, I am speaking of some sentimental and strong response to the world crisis. I am speaking of that force that she is driven by as the supreme unifying principal of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

Rev. E. Pinkney

The Broken, Corrupt System Belongs to the Corrupt Judges & Prosecutors in Berrien County

On Nov. 3rd 2014 I was convicted by an all white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth. A fair trial is an impartial and disinterested tribunal in accordance with regular procedures. It was not a fair trial in which the defendant's constitutional and legal rights were respected.
The trial consists of absolutely no evidence against me, Rev. Edward Pinkney. No confession. No eyewitnesses. No testimony against him. The definition of evidence something including testimony, documents and tangible objects that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. Evidence broadly defined is the means from which an inference may logically be drawn as to the existence of a fact, that which makes evidence. Evidence is a demonstration of a fact.
The prosecutor Mike Sepic and his partner judge Sterling Schrock failed to produce any evidence in the case to convict me, justice is the fair and proper administration of the law., which Berrien County has failed to do. To understand the law allow me to give you the definition of the word law. The regime that orders human activities and relations through systematic application of the force of politically organized society or through social pressure backed by force, in such a society.
All laws should be a law of a group of individuals, but unfortunately we have two different sets of laws: one for the rich and one for the poor. Which the system has put together to divide and conquer. The system is a fraud, but we will place the problems of the poor and the legal corrupt system at the foot of the government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. This power has refused to acknowledge its debt to the poor. This power has refused to acknowledge its debt to the poor. This power has refused to acknowledge that the system is corrupt from the top to the down. This power has failed to live up to its promise to insure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all his citizens: black, white, brown, red, yellow, and others. If this society fails, I fear we will learn very shortly that corruption in a criminal justice system is a sickness unto death.
We need a bill of rights,bill to stop the corruption inside the criminal justice system so corrupt judges like Sterling, Schrock, Dennis Wiley, and prosecutors like Mike Sepic will be prosecuted, but that is only a dream. The whole system is corrupt, the corporations have taken over the whole system.
There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together. Where each has his own job and house and where all children receive as much education as their kind can absorb, but if such a world is created in our lifetime it will be done in the United States by Blacks, Whites, Brown, Red, Yellow, and all others of good will. It will be done by rejecting this corrupt system and working toward a world of brotherhood cooperative and peace.

Rev. E. Pinkney
Marquette Branch Prison

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Stolen 30 Months by a Corrupt Berrien County Court System!

Some of my personal suffering over the last few years have also served to shape my thinking. I always hesitate to mention these experiences for fear of conveying the wrong impression. A person who constantly calls attention to his trials and suffering is in danger of developing a martyr complex and making others feel that he is consciously seeking sympathy. It is possible for one to be self centred in his self-sacrifice. So I am always reluctant to refer to my personal sacrifices, but I feel somewhat justified in mentioning them today, so everyone could and would know how I feel!
Due to my involvement in the struggle for freedom of my people: black, white, brown, red, yellow, and all others, I have known very few quiet days in the last few years. I have known little peace. I have been arrested several times and put in Michigan prison a few times. A day seldom passes that me or my family are not the recipients of hatred. So in a real sense I have been battered by the storms of prosecution. I must admit that at times I have felt that I could no longer bear such a heavy burden and I have been tempted to retreat to a more quiet and serene life, but every time such temptation appeared something comes to strengthen and sustain my determination.
My personal trials have taught me the value of unmerited suffering. As my suffering mounted I soon realized that there were two ways that I could respond to my situation either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course, recognizing the necessity for suffering. I have tried to make of it a virtue, if only to save myself from bitterness. I have attempted to see my personal ordeals as an opportunity to transform myself and heal the people of Berrien County, Michigan from Judge Sterling Schrock, prosecutor Mike Sepic, Sheriff Paul Bailey, County Clerk Sharon Tyler, Election Clerk Carolyn Toliver, and Juror Gail Freehling who are involved in this tragic situation. I have lived these last few years with the conviction that unearned suffering is redemptive.
There are some who still find the cross a stumbling block and others consider it foolishness, but I am more convinced than ever before that it is the power of God unto social and individual salvation. So like the Apostle Paul, I can now humbly yet proudly say: I bear in my body the Mark of the Lord Jesus. The suffering and the agonizing moment through which I have passed over the last few years have also drawn me closer to GOD. More than ever before I am convinced of the reality of a personal GOD!
I now understand the hypocrisy of the corrupt Berrien County criminal justice system which has no limit. My suffering will not be in vain.     Rev. E. Pinkney

The Food Strike at Marquette Branch Prison

Let the truth be told, Rev. Edward Pinkney said: we are not eating at Marquette Branch Prison Chow Hall, for months the prisoners have been served rotten, spoiled, rodent infected waste. Food with maggots and worms. We are demanding better food, reform of the prison system, as well as humane treatment and stop torturing the prisoners.
At Marquette Branch prison on May 24, 2016 over 700 prisoners refused to go to the Chow Hall. Blacks, whites, browns, red, and yellow, plus all others. It was a tremendous show of power. The prisoners took control of the prison and will not give it back.
There is more power in organized masses of prisoners on the march than there is in guns in the hands of a few desperate men.
It is necessary that with a huge, unarmed but resolute mass of people. It is necessary that the mass action method be persistent and unyielding.
This method inspired and organized the prisoners: blacks, whites, browns, red and yellow and all others. This disorganized and demobilized the prison system like never before.
All history teaches us that like a turbulent ocean beating great cliffs into fragments of rock, the determined movement of people incessantly demanding their rights to humane treatment always disintegrates the prison old orders.
It is this form of struggle - non cooperation with evil through mass action, never letting them rest, which offers the more effective road for those who have been tempted and goaded to violence. It needs the bold and the brave because it is not free of danger. The prisoners face the vicious and evil Michigan department of Corrections squarely. It requires dedicated people.
Michigan Department of Corrections classified the protest as a riot which is unbelievable, so Michigan Department of Corrections could force Trinity food service to refund thousands and thousands of dollars that MDOC had already paid for, which the prisoners over 700 refuse to go to the Chow Hall to eat the rotten spoiled, rodent infested waste which includes maggots worms and bugs, the inhuman treatment continues.
Michigan Department of Corrections director Heidi Washington and Warden Robert Napel retaliated against the prisoners with a forced lockdown over 50% of the prisoners are moved to a different location inside the prison, including myself, retaliation comes with the territory by the MDOC Director Washington, Warden Napel. Become a dedicated fighter for human rights make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better person, enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. Make a career of humanity, commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. The prisoners are demanding human rights that has been taken away by MDOC.

Rev. E. Pinkney
Marquette Prison

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Rev. Pinkney case: Michigan Appellate Court Ruling Upholds Corporate Rule

By the People’s Tribune 

July 26, 2016 marked the 588th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan, has been in jail for allegedly changing dates on an election recall petition to oust the town’s mayor.  On that day, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld his conviction by in effect saying there was sufficient evidence without proving the charges. The Court negated witness testimony that someone else committed the crime by stating Rev. Pinkney aided and abetted that person through his political activity against the Whirlpool Corporation and their puppet Mayor James Hightower.

The community of Benton Harbor, led by Rev. Pinkney, exposed corporate rule through political activism. In a desperate move to stop a recall election they were going to lose and quiet opposition, corporate rule in Michigan reached into the past and resurrected the old kangaroo courts of the Jim Crow South where evidence, justice, innocence and being judged by a jury of one’s peers had no meaning. Less than a year after Rev. Pinkney was convicted by an affluent all white jury, the court of public opinion—Benton Harbor’s citizenry—gave its verdict by defeating the corporate mayor Hightower in the general election by a landslide margin. While this victory vindicated Rev. Pinkney, he still remains in jail. 

In essence, the ruling of the Michigan Court of Appeals makes political activity against corporate rule in and of itself a crime. After this ruling, if you are an activist in the state of Michigan, you are guilty until proven innocent instead of innocent until proven guilty. At present, no other state has advanced fascist corporate rule as far as the state of Michigan has, with its emergency manager system. Emergency managers are sent to Michigan cities to replace mayors and city councils nullifying them as elected officials. They make the city’s publicly owned land and assets the private property of corporations. Emergency managers do the bidding of corporations like Whirlpool. It is this dictatorial emergency manager system that Rev. Pinkney and his community exposed and stood up to. 

As this case illustrates, we, the people are living in a new era. Corporations are taking over the government on every level. Underlying this change is new labor replacing technologies (robots and computers) that are creating massive, permanent unemployment. The government is changing its form of rule from democracy as we have known it to dictatorship in order to maximize corporate profits and protect their property. The result for the workers, those who industry no longer needs, is seen most vividly in Flint where an entire city has been poisoned and people are left to fend for themselves and die. It is this section of the population that Rev. Pinkney has always—and continues—to fight for. And it is activists fighting for the rights of this section of the population in Michigan and elsewhere, such as those fighting for water rights, housing, and for democracy itself, who are being targeted by the government for their activity on behalf of the people. The corporate government cannot allow this section of the population to congeal in a common fight, not only for their right to survive, but also for a new society where corporate property becomes public property. 

The People's Tribune urges all Americans to join the fight to free Rev. Edward Pinkney. In joining the fight to free Rev. Pinkney, you will be working to free a leader of the people. You may also be preventing Michigan style fascism from coming to your neck of the woods too.
Take the situation in Michigan and Rev. Edward’s Pinkney’s case into the electoral arena!

For more information on this case, visit or

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source. Copyright © 2016 People's Tribune. Visit us at

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Prison Radio: Appeal Denied

Listen to Rev. Pinkney's latest recording for Prison Radio. For all his Prison Radio recordings, click the Prison Radio link at the right hand side of this page.

New on Counterpunch!

The Nightmare of Rev. Pinkney: the Scales of Justice No Longer Exist for You and Me

In April 2014, Reverend Edward Pinkney submitted 728 signatures to the Michigan Berrien County Clerk’s office to recall then Mayor James Hightower. The required number of signatures was 393. Upon review, by the clerk’s office, 300 signatures were disqualified, leaving 428 confirmed and certified. With 428 signatures, the requirement was met in excess by 35 signatures. The recall date was set at May 6, 2014.
Then, the nightmare began.
After the recall date was set, Hightower questioned some dates on the petitions and, ultimately, the petitions were handled by multiple individuals until, finally, they were delivered to the Michigan State Police Crime Lab to determine if any dates had been fraudulently altered. This is where things get fuzzy. The crime lab determined that some dates were changed based on a change in ink color and variations in the type of pen that was used. The prosecution, after charging Pinkney with five counts of election forgery of changing five dates on signatures, contended that the reason for the change was to meet the 60-day rule (signatures on petitions dated more than 60 days before they were filed with the county clerk, would be invalid).
The kangaroo court, in Berrien County, Michigan that followed later that year, convicted Pinkney of the five counts as felonies and he was sentenced to serve 2.5 to 10 years in prison.
Fast forward to July 2016, after Pinkney’s legal team has filed multiple appeals for bond and briefs to counter this wrongful conviction, after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)-MI and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG)-Detroit have filed amicus briefs on Pinkney’s behalf, the Michigan Court of Appeals (COA) has, once again, ruled against Pinkney.
In the latest brief, Pinkney’s legal counsel argued these four major points in requesting his convictions be reversed:
* Michigan Election Law MCL 168.937 does not create substantive offense of election forgery.
* Prosecution presented insufficient evidence to convict.
* Berrien County trial court instructed the jury that it could convict Pinkney of election forgery, even if he was not the perpetrator, under the theory of aiding-and-abetting.
* Michigan Rule of Evidence MRE 404(b) was violated, obstructing Pinkney’s constitutional right to free speech and due process.
First, the MCL 168.937 contains ambiguous, vague language that can be easily accepted or dismissed by a Michigan court even though there are several cases pending decision based on the interpretation of this law. In Pinkney’s case, the COA ruled against Pinkney.
Second, at trial, there was no evidence, no witnesses, and no confession, nothing to prove Pinkney was guilty of committing a crime. Instead, these facts were brought out in court:
* Three witnesses came forward and testified that they saw another individual (Venita Campbell, who was in charge of checking petitions as they came in for accuracy and voter eligibility) change dates on some of the petitions. (Prosecution claimed that Miss Campbell could not be found to appear and testify herself.) Instead, prosecution used these testimonies to accuse Pinkney of telling Campbell to change dates, an accusation that was not proven to be true.
* A County Commissioner testified she changed the date at her signature herself after she realized she had written the wrong date.
* Securing recall signatures was held mostly outside, knocking on doors, and standing on street corners during the winter months and different pens had to be used as the cold would quickly affect the flow of the ink.
* At trial, 95% of about 15 witnesses who gave sworn testimony told the court they signed the recall petition themselves and some stated they remembered having to use different pens. About five percent stated they could not recall details pertaining to which type or how many pens they used.
* Michigan forensics examiner, Mark Goff, testified that some dates were altered, but he could not determine who changed the dates.
Third, the trial court and prosecution used Pinkney’s community leadership, his activism, the support and assistance he provided to Benton Harbor residents (especially young, Black men), his courtroom watching, and his role as president of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) as motivation to commit election forgery and, therefore, Pinkney must be convicted on the possibility of aiding-and-abetting. Of course, this is blatantly ludicrous and racist, and it was used as a means of removing Pinkney from his community, of locking Pinkney up to silence and isolate him. Even during the sentencing, the prosecution urged the judge to send a clear message to Pinkney and the community with a harsh sentence.
Fourth, Pinkney’s constitutional right to free speech and due process were violated. The prosecution brought up his activism often during the trial in a bid to influence and convince the jury that his widespread leadership and activism were motives that could convict Pinkney on these charges. The three COA judges agreed with the prosecution.
Indeed, Pinkney was host of a weekly radio show, he has the support of celebrities, such as Danny Glover (who attended a fundraiser with Pinkney and has been a longtime supporter), and Pinkney has taken his fight for justice and equality around the country. He has delivered speeches to the United Nations in New York City, at the local Michigan Democracy Convention, and at various other organizational meetings as far away as California. During the trial and sentencing, it was clear to all who observed in the courtroom, that Berrien County officials, influenced by the power of the Whirlpool Corporationconsidered Pinkney a community leader whom they were determined to stop no matter what. The COA has joined the trial court in stepping on Pinkney’s free speech rights.
The evidence is clear that the corrupt Michigan court system bends laws and rules, dismisses testimonies, submits unfounded charges, intimidates witnesses with antagonistic discord, and uses racist tactics to silence dissension in order to allow corporate rule and gentrification to take over Benton Harbor, a community that is about 90% Black with nearly half living in poverty (according to official statistics). Pinkney has clearly been punished for helping his community fight against the machine of corruption.
According to Pinkney and his counsel, the next step is to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. In June 2017, Pinkney will have been incarcerated for 2.5 years, the minimum sentence handed down. Will the Supreme Court do the right thing? Will it objectively weigh all the tenets of this case and rule accordingly?
Pinkney has spent the past five plus years warning Americans about the rise of fascism in our government through laws such as the Emergency Manager Law (originally Public Act 101) that has exasperated the situations in Detroit, Flint, and in many other Michigan cities, including Benton Harbor. The latest version of this law does not allow the public to make changes or vote, via referendum, to disallow the law.
Will you or I be next to suffer this nightmare?
What has happened to Rev. Edward Pinkney, an African-American man of faith with a huge heart, a fighter for freedom and rights for all, can happen to anyone. So do we  refuse to be quiet and submissive? Do we refuse to accept the status quo and the growing chokehold of corporations and the corruption of too many local, state, and federal government officials? Pinkney says, “We must all join together, no matter what your color, creed, gender, sexual identity, age or religion, and fight! There are more of us than there are of them. Enough is enough!”
We are witnessing a rise in unrest among the young, minorities, homeless, poor, and middle class Americans as individuals and groups fight for survival, equality and justice. If we do not fight unlawful efforts to suffocate our freedoms, then is it only a matter of time when we can be arrested and/or fined, even charged and convicted unjustly for writing a letter-to-the-editor or for holding a sign in a peaceful protest or for writing an opinion on social media? We cannot sit idly by, watching and thinking that we will be okay because the Scales of Justice no longer exist for you and me. 
Please show your support to Rev. Pinkney by writing to him at: Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671; N-E-93; Marquette Branch Prison;1960 U.S. Highway 41 South; Marquette, MI 49855. Donations to help with his legal counsel and other expenses are greatly appreciated. Go to for more on this case.