Another post-conviction motions hearing took place on April 14 in St. Joseph, Michigan, involving the conviction by an all-white jury late last year of a leading civil rights activist, Rev. Edward Pinkney. People traveled from throughout the state of Michigan and across the United States to support the Berrien County leader who many feel has been denied justice by a corporate-controlled racist system in the southwest region of the state.
Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney is now being held in Jackson state prison. He remains in good spirits despite the racist injustice that has landed him in detention over manufactured claims that he changed the dates on five signature entries on a recall petition designed to remove Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. This is not the first time that Pinkney has been imprisoned for his political activities.
Berrien County Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, Rev. Edward Pinkney, to 30-120 months in prison based on an all-white jury’s verdict of guilty on five felony counts of forgery. The charges stemmed from a successful recall petition drive against Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who is perceived as a tool of the Whirlpool Corp. and the political power structure in the area.
An all-white Berrien County jury had convicted Rev. Pinkney, the founder of Benton Harbor's Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers (BANCO) and an associate pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, in March 2007 on allegations of voter fraud. He won release from prison on bond in December 2008 only after the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took an interest in his case and helped with his defense.
Due to the great outpouring of support in Michigan, Rev. Edward Pinkney has become the Green Party candidate in the 6th District Congressional race. He is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a political heir to Whirlpool Corp.-Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc.