[Ppnews] Rev. Pinkney of Benton Harbor jailed!

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 17 11:32:44 EST 2007

Issued by Global Women's Strike, Women of Color 
in the GWS, and Payday men’s 
network.  215-848-1120 or 
<mailto:philly at crossroadswomen.net>philly at crossroadswomen.net   12/16/07

Black Community Leader of Benton Harbor, Michigan

Jailed for Criticizing Judge

In the latest unbelievable outrage against Black 
low-income residents of Benton Harbor, MI, 
community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney, who has 
been under house arrest since he was falsely 
convicted by an all-white jury of election fraud, 
has been jailed without the immediate option of 
bail for criticizing the judge who sentenced 
him.  This persecution follows a successful 
campaign he led to recall a city commissioner 
considered corrupt and in the pockets of 
developers.  He is now on a hunger strike until all this is resolved.

On December 14 at approximately 1:30 pm, the 
Sheriff's Department in Berrien County, Michigan 
arrested Rev. Pinkney and took him to the jail in 
St. Joseph.  The sheriff also seized Rev. Pinkney's computer.

Background: Benton Harbor is 94% Black with an 
average income of $8,000/year.  Rev. Pinkney and 
others in BANCO (the Black Autonomy Network of 
Community Organizations) regularly monitored 
courthouse proceedings, named those involved in 
corrupt and racist practices and opposed rampant 
police brutality particularly following the death 
of a Black teenager.  When the CEO of Whirlpool 
(HQ in Benton Harbor) announced a “development 
plan” for 465 riverfront acres in Benton Harbor, 
BANCO’s leader Rev. Pinkney was outspoken in 
opposition to this land grab.  BANCO succeeded in 
having a City Commissioner recalled for being in 
the pocket of Whirlpool (though he was later 
reinstated).  But with so much money riding on 
it, the power elite attempted to criminalize Rev. 
Pinkney, accusing him of electoral 
fraud.  Without either evidence or credible 
witnesses for the prosecution, an all-white jury 
found him guilty.  Grassroots action succeeded in 
getting a possible 20-year sentence reduced to 
one year in jail and 5 yrs probation.

Until Friday, Rev. Pinkney was under house arrest 
– having to pay $84/week for the court tether he 
was required to wear in order to avoid serving 
time in jail.  He was the only one under house 
arrest in Michigan who was being monitored by satellite.

Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, wife and fellow campaigner 
for justice, reports that the sheriff's deputies 
presented a bench warrant to arrest the Reverend 
for violating the 15th condition of his probation 
(which she said they were totally unaware of) by 
being quoted in the Peoples Tribune newspaper as follows:

”The corruption and the deceitfulness continues 
in Berrien County Courthouse. Judge Butzbaugh has 
violated his oath. I support the constitution of 
the United States and the State of Michigan; we 
are still waiting on this racist corrupt judge to 
do the same. Judge Butzbaugh has failed the 
people, the community, his duties and his office."

What about Rev. Pinkney’s right to free speech 
under the Constitution? And why have they seized 
his computer?  Have the sheriffs of Berrien 
County, Michigan nothing better to do than to 
persecute Rev. Pinkney?  No violent crimes to 
solve, no rapists to catch, no people to protect?

The police examining Rev. Pinkney’s computer will 
find he and BANCO have supporters all over the 
world.  For example, a delegation from the Global 
Women's Strike representing South America, Europe 
and the Caribbean visited Rev. and Mrs. Pinkney 
in mid-November, and are committed to gathering 
global support for him.  “Benton Harbor’s 
struggle against racism and to survive in their 
own home city is our struggle,” they said.

Legal abuse and persecution of Afro-Americans in 
the Jim Crow South is flourishing in 
Michigan.  We must not stand by while the white 
elite of Berrien County attempt again to silence 
a man whose only ‘crime’ is to be the voice of 
Benton Harbor’s Black community, calling out the 
racism and corruption of local government, police and courts.

ACT NOW.  Demand Rev. Pinkney’s immediate release!

Demand that all charges be dropped against him 
and that he be released from house arrest!

1) Call or write with your objections
Call the Sheriff’s Dept, Berrien County Michigan 
and inquire about Rev. Pinkney’s well-being.

Sheriff Paul Bailey

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department

919 Port Street

St. Joseph, MI 49085

(269) 983-7141

Email: Pbailey at berriencounty.org.

Copy Letters to:  Hugh M. Davis, Constitutional 
Litigation Associates, P.C., 450 West Fort 
Street, Suite 200, Detroit, Michigan, 
48226.  Phone: 313-961-2255; Fax: 313-961-5999; 
email: <mailto:conlitpc at sbcglobal.net>conlitpc at sbcglobal.net:

2) Demand Rev. Pinkney’s pardon and immediate release.

Gov. Granholm has the ability to pardon Pinkney or commute his sentence.

All individuals and organizations are urged to 
immediately write letters or post cards DEMANDING his pardon.

Governor Granholm

P. O. Box 30013

Lansing, MI  48909

517-335-7858 (call may not be recorded)

3) Send donations to BANCO

Legal Fee Donations (non-profit so it's tax-deductible):


1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI  49022

4) Write to the Editor of the main newspaper of 
Benton Harbor/St Joseph and say what you think of 
this outrage against freedom of speech.

Herald Palladium Newspaper (letters to the editor)

P.O. Box 128

St. Joseph, Michigan 49085


5) Support Rev. Pinkney and Sign the 

6) Boycott Whirlpool and its subsidiaries, and spread the word:
Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Gladiator, 
GarageWorks, Inglis, Estate, Roper, Magic Chef, 
Acros, Supermatic. ABROAD - Bauknecht, Brastemp, Consul, Eslabon de Lujo.

Let Whirlpool know that’s what you’re doing:
Whirlpool Corp. (World Headquarters and N. 
America Region)
2000 N. M-63
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022-2692           Tel: 269-923-5000

7) Demand an immediate investigation into this injustice.  Contact:

The Congressional Black Caucus. Phone 
202-226-9776, mail to 2264 Rayburn House Office Bldg, Washington, DC 20515.

Your Congressional Representative. For phone 
number and address call 202-224-3121.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington DC 
20510, demanding a full investigation into the 
Whirlpool corporate takeover of the city of Benton Harbor. Phone 202-224-7703.

8) Send us your statements of support and we will 
compile them and put them on the 
website.  E-mail: 
<mailto:allwomencount at crossroadswomen.net>womenstrike8m at server101.com

Statement from Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike
We call on all people of conscience, those who 
love justice, to take immediate action against 
this ongoing outrage. In the aftermath of the 
great electoral frauds of 2000 and 2004, Rev. 
Pinkney stands as an example of the power of the 
people to demand accountability from politicians 
and use of the electoral process as it was 
intended.  His ‘crime’ is that he is refusing to 
bow down to illegitimate and corrupt power, but 
is instead tireless in the service of the 
community. Send a message to the body politic. 
Contact your elected representatives.   Let them 
know we are watching them. Let them know you 
demand both an electoral system and elected 
politicians who serve the people. Call Sheriff 
Paul Bailey and inquire about Rev. Pinkney's wellbeing.

Signed Women of Color in the Global Women's 
Strike/ Bay Area San Francisco; Los Angeles; 
Philadelphia; England; Guyana; India 
(Chhattisgarh); Mexico; Peru; Uganda; 
Venezuela.   email: <mailto:la at crossroadswomen.net>la at crossroadswomen.net

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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