Monday, September 26, 2016

Pro bono assistance needed from an attorney

Rev. Pinkney is doing well and happy to be able to see his wife and other friends more often now that he is in Muskegon. He can visit the law library more often and he is keeping as busy as possible.  

Rev. Pinkney is glad to hear about the recent protests at sporting events against racism and the system. He said, "We've got to continue to keep that pressure on them. Our history is we run fast, but we don't run long. The race is a mile long, but we're like quarter horses that run a quarter mile and stop."

                         *                       *                      *

Marcina Cole's new article on the national website Real Progressives.   Congrats, M!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Do You Hear Us? We Want Justice and Freedom, Now!

New article by Marcina Cole on the news site Real Progressives!

The days have been long and agonizing since Reverend Edward Pinkney, a sixty-eight-year old Black man and political prisoner, was incarcerated in December 2014. Rev. Pinkney, a civil rights activist and organizer from Benton Harbor, was charged and convicted of election fraud. On October 27, 2014, he was found guilty by an all-white jury of five felony counts of voter fraud. Rev. Pinkney was accused of allegedly altering dates on a recall petition against the former mayor James Hightower of Benton Harbor, Michigan. This politician looks out for the best interests of the Whirlpool Corporation who swamp over the small town, suffocating opportunities for the over 90% Black residents who are poor and disenfranchised. Hightower supported Whirlpool not having to pay any city income tax, and the burden shifted to the poor residents in Benton Harbor when Hightower took out an over two million dollar loan.

Read more at Real Progressives.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rev. Pinkney Appeals to State Supreme Court, Speaks on Prison Radio

On September 3, 2016, Rev. Pinkney's defense team filed a 50-page "Application for Leave to Appeal" to the Michigan Supreme Court. Rev. Pinkney seeks to overturn the Court of Appeals disappointing opinion in July. The new appeal continues to raise the same questions that are critical not only to Rev. Pinkney, but to all of our constitutional, due process, and civil rights. Very briefly, these are questions of:
  • insufficient evidence
  • violations of Michigan Rules of Evidence and of the constitutional rights to free speech and due process
  • prosecuting under a statute that only sets out penalties, not crimes
Meanwhile, the Michigan Supreme Court declined to consider Rev. Pinkney's request for bond pending appeal, and he remains in prison in Muskegon. It may take a year before the Michigan Supreme Court hears his appeal, by which time Rev. Pinkney will have served the minimum sentence (30 months). As Rev. Pinkney has said, this essentially means that any of us can be kept in prison without any direct or sufficient evidence and with rampant violation of our rights.

LISTEN to Rev. Pinkney's response in his own words, recorded yesterday on Prison Radio.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New book on Rev. Pinkney! Great little book which I couldn't put down

Soldier of Truth: The Trials of Rev. Edward Pinkney 
Paperback – September 11, 2016

Much of the news these days makes it obvious that our justice system doesn’t serve everyone—the richest players always seem to win. In Benton Harbor, MI, corporate giant Whirlpool pushes its weight around like a schoolyard bully, taking whatever it wants. This has never sat well with resident Edward Pinkney, and he has chosen the hard road of standing up to these abuses. His efforts, and the resulting government backlash, are part of the amazing story that unfolds in this book. In Soldier of Truth, Philip A. Bassett combines court reporting with personal stories to create a powerful portrait of Rev. Edward Pinkney and his quest to bring justice into America’s courtrooms. Join the author on his own journey, as his life is forever changed when he meets and befriends this remarkable man.

Purchase here:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Prisoners at Kinross C.F. Riot Against MDOC

Over 400 prisoners protested at Kinross Correctional Facility near Kincheloe, Michigan, on Saturday, following a prison workers strike there on Friday, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison rebellion in New York. The nationwide prisoners general strike was called to protest prison slavery and low wages, as well as the inhumanity of U.S. prisons.

The Detroit Free Press reported that 150 of the protesters were transferred to other facilities, where they will no doubt spread the word. The union representing prison guards said that the incident was more serious than MDOC claimed, with multiple fires set and two housing units left unlivable. The Free Press reported, "No prison staff or inmates were injured, Gautz said, but non-custodial staff was evacuated Saturday afternoon and emergency response teams and other extra officers from nearby prisons were on the scene helping to restore order."

MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz told the Free Press it was "Not a riot at all."

However, a commenter wrote online:
Mr. and Ms. Media, the M.D.O.C. is lying to you as usual. At least two units were set on fire and two barricaded. The officers were pulled out for a while and the institution is a total loss. The reason the prisoners are giving for the RIOT is the garbage that Trinity, the new privatized food service company is feeding them. This is a full blown riot, not a protest.
Read more at the Detroit Free Press and ABC 10.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Update from Rev. Pinkney

Supporter Marcina Cole spoke with Rev. Pinkney about his transfer this week from Marquette Branch Prison to the West Shoreline Correctional Facility (MTF) in Muskegon. Again, please take a minute to write Rev. Pinkney a letter, card, or postcard, or send him an article at his new address. This will help the new facility understand how much support he has. The new address is:
Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671
West Shoreline Correctional Facility
2500 S. Sheridan Drive
Muskegon Heights, MI 49444
Marcina wrote:

Rev. Pinkney and 30 to 40 prisoners spent two agonizing days on the road to reach their destination, first stopping at Kinross prison facility. His wife and his supporters want him to be released from prison soon. 

Visitation hours as follow: 
Monday, Thursday, and Friday, 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm. 
Saturday, and Sunday, odd-numbered days only, 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. 

This facility is much closer to Rev. Pinkney's wife and family, and anything is better than Marquette Branch Prison. We want to thank the people who live in Marquette, Michigan, and nearby who supported and visited Rev. Pinkney during his time at Marquette Branch Prison. Many of us couldn’t make the tough drive of over 500 miles from his hometown, Benton Harbor, and other supporters in Michigan could not frequently drive to Marquette.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support of activist, organizer, and fearless leader Reverend Edward Pinkney.

Marcina Cole

Friday, September 09, 2016

Breaking News: Rev. Pinkney Transferred to Muskegon!

Two days ago, Rev. Pinkney was transferred out of Marquette Branch Prison, which he often described as Michigan's "concentration camp." He is now at West Shoreline Correctional Facility (MTF) in Muskegon Heights. We look forward to hearing more from him about the transfer and the conditions at his new facility.

It is critical that we send Rev. Pinkney letters, cards, and postcards to let the administration at this new facility know how much we support Rev. Pinkney. Please write to:
Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671, West Shoreline Correctional Facility, 2500 S. Sheridan Drive, Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

Also, Nationwide Prison Worker Strike on the 45th Anniversary of the Attica Uprising

Today, September 9th, also marks 45 years since the Attica Uprising in New York. The Marshall Project writes: "On September 9, 1971, prisoners seized control of the upstate New York facility and took 42 staff hostage. The ensuing stand-off lasted two days, leaving 43 men dead and 89 more wounded. At that time, the Attica riot marked the deadliest single encounter between Americans – Indian massacres aside – since the civil war....Follow @AtticasGhosts to see how Attica all went down."

On this anniversary, prisoners across the United States are starting a prisoner work stoppage to protest prison slavery! See the call and a list of nationwide solidarity events. In Michigan, there will be a protest starting at 4:30 in East Lansing and another starting at 7:30 in Detroit.

We Must Stop Supporting Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and All Others Who Do Not Support Our Black Community!

The history of our nation is the history of a long, hard, and tireless effort to broaden the franchise of American citizens, which includes Black Americans. At the very birth of our nation, a great struggle had to be made to secure the ballot for all people, who did not own property. Even among the founding fathers, there were men who felt that only those who owned property should have the right to vote. Over this issue a mighty struggle took place. When after many long years this fight was successfully won, a great effort was made by blacks and women seeking to obtain voting rights. After many, many years of agitation we won the right to vote. Many people died for the right to vote, fair housing, jobs, to be educated; but now come blacks who refuse to give back to the community.

Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, and many others really believe they are part of this system, the establishment. They are only puppets to this corrupt, rigged system.
The best example I can give you is the NBA Basketball Finals which was rigged for Lebron James and the billionaire Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavs, to win the NBA Basketball Championship.

The referees were cheating for Cleveland Cavs to win along with the commissioner of the NBA. I will never ever watch another game on television or attend. It is a perfect example of our system and the establishment. They pick and choose who will win the championship and the people who pay the price for the entertainment are being cheated by the corrupt, rigged system and the establishment.

Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey and others all refuse to give back to the community. It is so simple to just help the needy and write it off. Put the people to work and write it off. Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey all feel that if the blacks are to rise out of poverty, if the blacks are to rise out of the slum conditions, if the blacks are to rise out of discrimination and racism, they must do it all by themselves like they did. They say blacks must lift themselves by their own boot straps. They don't understand people have died, so they could live! Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey never stopped to realize that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. They never stopped to realize that the nation made the black man's color a stigma: they never stopped to realize the debt that they owe, so many people who fought and died for them to be in the position, and they refuse to give back to the community and black people still support them.

In 1863, the black people were told that they were free as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, but the black man was not given any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something akin to keeping a person in prison for a number of years and suddenly discovering that person is not guilty of the crime for which they were convicted, and you say now you are free: but you do not give him any money. We must learn to stand together and fight together for all. Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey are all puppets for the system and the establishment and refuse to give back to the people who support them. The system normally finds a black person who fits into their system, but are not part of the establishment. The puppets cannot and will not help other blacks in any community. The system will not allow them to open their mouths about an issue in the community. We must confront Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Oprah Winfrey at all costs!

Mayor James Hightower Operating a Whore House at Lakeland Hospital!

When Benton Harbor residents proposed that they enact by referendum a 1 percent income tax aimed at the Whirlpool Corporation to help solve the city financial crisis, Whirlpool and Benton Harbor puppet Mayor James Hightower worked to defeat the measure through a massive misinformation campaign.

In 2013 Rev. Pinkney and others launched an effort to recall Mayor James Hightower. The Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) gathered the required number of signatures to force a recall election and turned them into the County Clerk Sharon Tyler and the election Clerk Carolyn Toliver, who verified them, and stated we had more than enough to force a recall election of the Mayor James Hightower.

The election Clerk Carolyn Toliver turned the recall petitions over to the sheriff and husband, who was a Lieutenant for the sheriff and husband, who was a Lieutenant for the Sheriff Department without a warrant, subpoena, or a Court Order.  The Election Clerk broke the law, no arrest!

Hightower, along with Ron Johnson, forced Debra Johnson to sign a false statement, she may have been paid by the Mayor to start the investigation. The prosecutor, Mike Sepic, and Sheriff Paul Bailey both knew the statement was false.
Hightower, the puppet mayor for Whirlpool Corporation, and Lakeland Hospital were given a soft job to control the mayor and the city residents of Benton Harbor.

The mayor has been married for over 30 years. With the support of Whirlpool Corporation and Lakeland Hospital, he was running women in and out of his office at Lakeland Hospital. He was operating a whore house inside the hospital.

Four women that we know of have confessed to having sex with Mayor James Hightower. It was reported allegedly that the mayor was having sex almost every single day in his office closet at Lakeland Hospital until he was forced to retire. He was operating a whore house inside Lakeland Hospital.

Dr. Loren Hamel, the president and CEO of Lakeland Hospital attempted to cover up the whore house at the hospital. He knew about Mayor James Hightower's sexual activities, but did nothing to stop it.

Whirlpool Corporation supported Mayor James Hightower and all of his sexual activities, along with Lakeland Hospital. He placed Lakeland Hospital on his Facebook page to acknowledge the hospital's support.

I am in prison today, during 2 years-6 months to 10 years all because of Mayor James Hightower, Whirlpool Corporation, and Lakeland Hospital.

The corrupt system has been able to win, maintain its stranglehold on us merely because there are so many people like James Hightower, so busy looking out for #1, the me-only syndrome, that we are willing to let the worst things in the world happen to our brother. When the system does not need you any more, they will throw you under the bus. Let this be a lesson to all. The corporate power structure is determined to crush anyone who stands in its way! Let's confront Whirlpool Corporation and Lakeland Hospital.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Labor Day Flyer from MECAWI

Wrongfully convicted, jailed for his activism!

The fight continues to FREE REV. EDWARD PINKNEY

The state of Michigan continues to persecute political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney. Convicted in Berrien County, Michigan, this community activist has served over 20 months for supposedly altering dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor. Sentenced to 2.5 to 10 years, he is locked up in Marquette Prison, 500 miles from family and friends.

On July 26 the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected Rev. Pinkney’s appeal. The Court heard oral arguments on May 11. Amicus briefs were filed by the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union. Four issues were raised on appeal.

First was whether the alteration of dates on the petitions was even a felony under the specific law he was charged with violating. The law specifies acts by government officials who violate election laws. However the court decided that in Pinkney’s case it also applies to any individual, not just officials.

In an outrageous argument the court held that “sufficient evidence was presented to support the jury’s guilty verdicts” based entirely on the facts that Rev. Pinkney was “leader in the recall efforts,” “had previously sponsored several recall campaigns,” “circulated 33 of the 62 recall petitions,” spoke at city commission and other meetings about the recall and “demonstrated animosity towards [mayor] Hightower.” The court said this is enough “to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Rev. Pinkney is African American from a city that is 90% African American but was tried in front of an all-white jury by a white prosecutor and white judge. The court completely brushed off the effect of the prosecutor harping again and again on the defendant’s activist history on the jury, stating “the jury was properly instructed several times that it could only consider the other-acts evidence for motive purposes” and that “jurors are presumed to follow their instructions.”

The Court of Appeals then argued that even if Rev. Pinkney was not the one who altered dates on the petitions, he could be convicted for aiding and encouraging another person who might have done so because Pinkney was “leader of the recall campaign.”

Finally the court upheld the introduction of Rev. Pinkney’s long career as a community activist as “motive” to commit election violations. These included “his radio show,” “his recall efforts in the local community,” “his speaking engagements across the country” and “his search for justice and equality in general.” According to the three judges this “showed that defendant had a motive to alter the dates on the recall petitions, thus providing evidence of the identification of the perpetrator.”

This last conclusion condemns every political activist in the country to be guilty of any political crime just for being an activist. This threat to free speech is one reason for the intervention of the NLG and the ACLU in this case. On July 27 Rev. Pinkney wrote to his supporters: "We are living in a time when the court system and the prosecutor don't need evidence to send a man to prison. I know they don't have any evidence, because I didn't do it. And the prosecutor knows I didn't do it.” It is expected that the case will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court in the next months. 

Donations toward Rev. Pinkney’s defense can be made at Write to Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671, Marquette Branch Prison, 1960 U.S. Highway 41 South, Marquette, MI 49855. For a speaker at your union meeting or church contact 313-680-5508. 

Issued by: Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice ( 313-680-5508

Friday, September 02, 2016

Fighting the Whirlpool Corporate Dictatorship in Benton Harbor, Michigan

Terrance T-Shirt Shurn is murdered by police, a vicious despicable murder. Police violently break up peaceful vigils, creating an uprising. The army is brought in to patrol the streets.
In Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm forms a task force in the year 2003. She says she will help Benton Harbor, Michigan. She has no intention of helping the residents of Benton Harbor. This was the beginning of the take over of the city by the corporation. This was the beginning of the merge of the corporation, Whirlpool, and the city of Benton Harbor government which is known as fascism.
In 2004, led by Whirlpool-backed commissioner Glen Yarbrough, beach-front city property is given away for proposed Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course.
In 2005, the citizens decided to recall Glen Yarbrough. The citizens get enough votes to remove Glen Yarbrough, but the judge set aside elections to keep Yarbrough's seat. Rev. Pinkney is arrested and falsely charged with voter fraud.
In 2007, to keep Yarbrough in office, Rev. Pinkney is arrested and falsely charged with voter fraud. Trial ends in a hung jury. A new trial with an all-white jury convicts Rev. Pinkney. He is placed on probation. Then Rev. Pinkney is sent to prison for probation violations when quoting the Bible. The Court of Appeals orders Rev. Pinkney's release. He spends nearly a year incarcerated.
Gov. Granholm brings in unelected Emergency Financial Manager under Public Act 72 to run Benton Harbor. The residents of Benton Harbor take control of the city commission away from Whirlpool and young black men in Benton Harbor are increasingly found dead under questionable circumstances, and this continues while Sheriff Paul Bailey says no foul play.
In 2011, Whirlpool puppet Mayor James Hightower becomes mayor in Benton Harbor. Gov. Snyder put Public Act 4 in place to change Emergency Financial Managers to Emergency Managers and gave them absolute power over all aspects of city government. The Emergency Manager continues giving away public land to Whirlpool.
In 2012, Michigan citizens vote to repeal Public Act 4 Emergency Manager Law, and then Gov. Snyder signs into law Public Act 436. It is almost identical to the original law, but stronger against the residents.
In 2013, a recall of the corrupt Mayer James Hightower begins. The petitions are turned in with the required number of signatures.
Sheriff Bailey investigates petitions at the request of the mayor, prosecutor, and judge to stop the recall election. The Sheriff Department started to intimidate the residents, who signed the petition.
In 2014 April 24, a SWAT Team surrounds Rev. Pinkney's home. He is charged with voter fraud, five felonies, no direct or indirect evidence. Rev. Pinkney is convicted by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth.
Rev. Pinkney needs your help. We must confront the corrupt and rigged system and fight back together!

Police Must Stop Killing Black Men Or Else!

Racism has wreaked havoc on black men. It is something difficult to determine, which are the deepest. They physical wounds or the psychological wounds, only a black man can understand the social disease that racism inflicts upon him. The suppressed fears and resentments, and the expressed anxieties and sensitivities make each day of life a turmoil. Every confrontation with the police, the court system, and everything else, and with the restrictions imposed is another emotional battle in a never ending war. the black man is shackled in his waking moments to tiptoe stance. Never quite knowing what to expect next and in his subconscious the black man wrestles with this added demon, better known as the system.

Is there any argument to support the withdrawing of life-quality from groups, because of the color of their skin, or the texture of their hair or any external characteristic, which has nothing at all to do with life quality? Certainly not on the grounds of morality, justice, or religion. Nothing can be more diabolical than a deliberate attempt to destroy in any man his will to be a man and to withhold from him that something that constitutes his true reserve. Desegregation, then is not enough for it travels a part of the distance, it does not complete the whole cycle. The lack of restriction against one's freedom, but it does not prohibit the blocking of his total capacity.

I may do well in non-racist society, but I can never know what my total capacity is until I live in a non-racist society. I cannot be free until I have had the opportunity to fulfil my total capacity untrammelled by any artificial hindrance or barrier. I demand that we recognize that racism is a denial of freedom and is denial of life itself.

Before we can understand, all the police killing today and the police officers, not being changed, we must go back to the root of the problem. The system, which also includes the criminal justice system. Black people continue to live with racism every single day of their life. It doesn't matter where we are individually in the scheme of things or how near we may be either to the top or the bottom of society. The cold facts of racism slap each one of us right in the face.

The lacking of sufficient access to television, radio, newspaper publications, and broad forums, blacks have to write their most persuasive essay with the blunt pen of force of the marching ranks. The killing of black men will continue, it is the Shame of America and this country must face the aspect of it, direct action will continue to be a significant source of power until it is made irrelevant by the presence of justice. We must confront this system until police officers are sent to prison for killing black men.

Jim Crow, Toliver, & Hightower Must Go for Corruption to End

Berrien County, Michigan  
The New Jim Crow, Election Clerk Carolyn Toliver, and Former Mayor James Hightower Must Go To Stop the Corruption

The battle is in our hands, just like in 1960, in Mississippi and Alabama, and all over the United States. I must admit to you there are still some difficult times ahead.

The latest saga in the pursuit of corporate rule that is gripping the city of Benton Harbor is led by Whirlpool corporation puppets former Mayor James Hightower, County Clerk Sharon Tyler election Clerk Carolyn Toliver, sheriff Paul (Eugene Bull Conners) Bailey, prosecutor Mike Sepic, and judge Sterling Schrock.

The recall election of Mayor James Hightower was scheduled to be held on May 6, 2014, but at the request of Whirlpool Corporation, James Hightower is working for Lakekland Hospital under Loren Hamel and the election clerk Carolyn Toliver, who broke the law and gave the recall petitions to the Sheriff's department without a subpoena, a warrant, or a court order. The recall petitions were taken out of the county without the permission or the authority. The corruption rolls on!

Prosecutor Mike Sepic takes pleasure in poisoning the Black community of Benton Harbor, which has the fourth largest prison population in the state of Michigan and is the tenth largest county. Prosecutor Mike Sepic is sworn to search for the truth, he does not know the truth. He is corrupt from his head to his toes.

This was a vindictive prosecution. I was singled out by the corrupt Berrien County elected officials because I had exercised my constitutionally protected rights. The prosecutor Mike Sepic egregious practice of failing to seek the truth to prevent the actual innocent from suffering a gross miscarriage of justice. There is no justice to blacks in Berrien County. Our broken judicial system in Berrien County continues to rear its ugly head by wrongfully imprisoning innocent black people.

I was convicted on Nov. 3, 2014 by an all-white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth. The jury of Jill Olsen, Maria Cordona, Carolyn Davis, David Dill, Allen Persk, Scott Rose, Carlia Witz, Sharlie Phillips, Mikala McCoy, Gail Freehling, Catherine Rohmer, who was a personal friend of Judge Sterling Schrock. This rogue jury that ignored the law and evidence in reaching a capricious verdict. The rogue jury based their verdict on revealed, deeply held prejudices, and was not based on a desire to achieve a just, fair or a moral outcome.

We must come to see the roots of racism in Berrien County are very deep, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice.

It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of White Americans spoken and unspoken acknowledge and denied subtle and sometimes not subtle, the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic and I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly to get rid of the disease of racism. We must confront racism, not just in Berrien County, Michigan, but around the world.