In the struggle to preserve civilization and the rule of law, Reverend Edward Pinkney stands in virtual isolation against a very real fascist threat in the tiny lakeside town of Benton Harbor, Michigan. His ability to stand up against the fascist machine, his organizing abilities, and his endless goodwill and positivity put him in a category with civil rights heroes as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
Pinkney will without a doubt go down in history as either a great civil rights hero who fought-off a racist and fascistic tide in America, or he will go down as the civil rights activist who warned the world that "fascism is coming to your town next" but whom no one listened.
Please help us keep Pinkney out of prison to continue his fight against the Whirlpool corporate takeover in Michigan. Visit bhbanco.com to help Rev. Pinkney avoid life in prison. He can't fight fascism from a jail cell!
11-15, Self-satisfied Sherrif gloats "We got Pinkney!" Pinkney faces life in prison.
11-08, Pinkney convicted with no evidence after forensic expert says it could not have been him. Reverend seeks a lawyer or funds to acquire one.
10-25, UN human rights experts meet with Rev. Pinkney over the denial of water to citizens of Detroit and Benton Harbor.
10-18, Frame-up faces counter attack; expert witness to testify that Rev. Pinkney did not forge signatures on emergency manager recall petition in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
10-11, World Crisis Radio helps garner the tool necessary to turn the water back on in Benton Harbor and Detroit. Pinkney knows freedom will not be had without taking it.
10-04, Corrupt officials launch attacks on the people of Michigan in Benton Harbor and Detroit. Pinkney threatened with arrest by ten deputy sherriffs for speaking against Berrien County acceptance of tanks and grenade launchers for the policing of Benton Harbor, population 10.000. Appeal is made for tools to turn the water back on in order to fight UN recognized water crisis.
9-27, Benton Harbor County Commissioner makes racial slur to send Rev. Pinkney to the back of the bus! Pinkney trial to proceed with five counts of felony forgery against Pinkney.
9-20, Rev. Pinkney appeals for help to hire a handwriting expert. Third law firm is added to Whirlpool's vast team of lawyers. Pinkney and BANCO continue to fight. Support comes from Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General during passing of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.
9-13, Water crisis continues under Michigan's Emergency Manager law. Crisis takes Pinkney to Detroit, recall efforts take him to Lansing.
9-06, Recall election is called off again against Emergency Manager James Hightower in Benton Harbor. The front line of democratic rights, civil rights, Constitutional rights, and human rights. Rev. Pinkney endorses Marcus Muhammad for mayor. Pinkney says “You just can’t make this stuff up!”
8-30, Judge ruled in favor of the recall election of Whirlpool-puppet Mayor Hightower, but Whirlpool hired two prominent law firms to appeal to have the recall stopped again.
8-23, Berrien County Clerk is recalled in Lansing, Michigan, for inappropriate actions during the Emergency Manager recall petition. $23 million worth of tanks and military equipment are to be given to city of Benton Harbor, population 10,000.
8-16 Battle for Democracy against Fascism in Benton Harbor as recall of emergency manager is successfully placed on the ballot. "If you don't fight, you can't win," says Pinkney as his trial is pushed forward by the dirty hands of the Berrien County legal system.
8-09,Democracy, due process, and rule of law are assaulted by Wall Street in Whirlpool company town, Benton harbor. Rev. Pinkney wins victories as court attempts to stop the petition driven recall of emergency manager, James Hightower. Rev. Pinkney appeals to all to “fight this battle together!”
8-02, Detroit water battle goes viral. "You can do a lot when you fight back." Pinkney defends himself in court hearing.
7-26, 10,000 rally in Detroit against emergency manager cutting off water. Representatives from across America and the United Nations including 2,000 nurses protest Detroit public health emergency.
7-12, Having circulated a petition to recall the appointed emergency manager of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Rev. Pinkney is taken to court. Judge makes controversial ruling regarding evidence; Pinkney appeals.
"Legacy of Racism and National Oppression in Michigan"
An all-white jury in St. Joseph, Michigan has found Rev. Edward Pinkney guilty of five felony counts of forgery stemming from a recall campaign against Mayor James Hightower of Benton Harbor earlier this year.
"Framing Reverend Pinkney" -Solidarity
He and BANCO first garnered national media attention in the wake of the June 2003 Benton Harbor uprising, in which the U.S. Army was called in to repress a community outraged by the killing of a young Black man by the police. In the weeks following the uprising, Rev. Pinkney and BANCO organized a nonviolent march of over 200 concerned citizens demanding justice for the people of Benton Harbor and an end to police brutality.
The Rev. Edward Pinkney, a longtime fighter against Whirlpool’s impoverishment of this majority-Black city and Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency management, was arrested April 25 and charged with five felony counts of election fraud, each carrying up to five years in prison, and six misdemeanors. His supporters say it is an attempt to stop the May 6 election recall of Whirlpool ally Mayor James Hightower.A SWAT team composed of Berrien County sheriffs, Michigan State police, and Benton Harbor Township police surrounded and stormed Pinckney’s home April 24, just after he left with his wife to celebrate her birthday.
“I guess they came to kill,” Rev. Pinkney told VOD in a phone interview. “The phone started blowing up with neighbors telling us what was going on. We spent the night in Kalamazoo. My attorney Ted Parrish called police and said I would turn myself in Monday April 28, but they insisted they wanted me immediately. They spent that night driving all over Benton Harbor looking for me.”
"Pinkney Convicted Of Election Fraud Felonies In Benton Harbor Recall Attempt" -Abayomi Azikiwe May 20, 2014
After winning national support in 2007-09 during efforts to fight charges of alleged election irregularities, the Rev. Edward Pinkney has again been indicted for his tireless work to make public officials in Benton Harbor, Mich., accountable to the people. Rev. Pinkney was placed under house arrest after he turned himself in to local authorities in late April. The day before Pinkney surrendered a SWAT team visited his home and blocked off the entire area. Rev. Pinkney was not home when members of the Benton Harbor Police, Berrien County Sheriff deputies, Michigan State Police and possible federal agents sought to apprehend him without his knowledge. Rev. Pinkney has been spearheading a recall election campaign to remove Mayor James Hightower. The mayor is accused of being a willing operative of Whirlpool Corp., a major powerbroker in the area. As a result of his organizing work, Rev. Pinkney has been indicted on five felony counts and six misdemeanors. The charges could result in 15 years in prison if he is convicted. County prosecutors claim that Rev. Pinkney forged signatures on recall petitions. The community leader denies these charges. He says he is committed to the removal of Hightower and the election of a replacement, namely, City Commissioner Marcus Muhammad. Despite these indictments, Rev. Pinkney remains confident that he will prevail against these recent attacks. He says the evidence against him was manufactured to provide the pretext for the county courts to delay the recall election scheduled for May 6. Consistent challenger of racism, injustice Rev. Pinkney has been an outspoken critic of the emergency management system under both previous Gov. Jennifer Granholm and current Gov. Rick Snyder, which has placed African-American and working-class municipalities under total dictatorship of the banks and corporations. The population of Benton Harbor is 89 percent African American, which has dropped off to approximately 10,000 residents. Benton Harbor was one of the first municipalities to fall victim to the so-called Emergency Manager Law. Cities can now be placed under the direct administration of the state government in order to enforce such austerity measures as layoffs of public employees, liquidation of public assets and school closures. The city was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, and production at Whirlpool facilities was reduced to almost nothing. With the exception of three working-class suburban communities outside of Detroit, cities under emergency management — Flint, Detroit, Inkster, Highland Park and Benton Harbor — have majority African-American populations. Rev. Pinkney played a role in a statewide petition campaign and referendum which initially overturned the emergency manager law. It was re-imposed by Gov. Snyder and the right-wing, Republican-dominated state legislature in late 2012 during a lame-duck session. Through the Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers, Rev. Pinkney has been mobilizing people throughout Berrien County for over a decade. BANCO was formed in Benton Harbor in response to the death of an African-American motorcyclist during a police chase in June 2003. The African-American community in the city rose up during four days of rebellion, and Michigan State Police were deployed to put it down. At the time Gov. Granholm, a Democrat, pledged to help the city with the creation of jobs and community programs. However, social conditions in the city worsened and public assets were later turned over to business interests for a widespread gentrification and relocation program aimed at the African-American community. In a campaign to stop gentrification, BANCO attempted to recall several city commissioners in 2007. For those efforts, Rev. Pinkney was falsely charged with “buying votes” and convicted through questionable testimony. He was placed on probation for four years, with another year in jail that could be served under house arrest. As a result of an article Rev. Pinkney published in the People’s Tribune in 2008, a Berrien County judge alleged that he had threatened the life of his sentencing judge, so Rev. Pinkney was sentenced to state prison for an entire year. Through national support Rev. Pinkney was able to appeal those charges and win release in 2009. He has continued organizing in Benton Harbor with both BANCO and a local chapter of the NAACP.
Guilty. A Berrien County jury has convicted Edward Pinkney of five felony charges of Election Fraud for changing dates on the recall petitions against Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. He faces up to 25 years in prison if Judge Sterling Schrock does not allow the sentences to be served concurrently. The Berrien County Prosecutor's office notes the maximum sentence on each charge is 5 years, but because Pinkney has previous election fraud felony convictions, the penalty could be increased. He will be sentenced on December 15. The jury acquitted Pinkney on six misdemeanor charges of allowing people to sign petitions more than once.