REV. PINKNEY IS FREE!
June 15, 2017
From the Benton Harbor Chapter of the Black Autonomy Network of Communities (B.A.N.C.O.)
After serving his minimum sentence of 30 months (two-and-a-half years), Rev. Pinkney was released from Michigan state prison this Tuesday morning. He is home with his wife, Dorothy, and resting.
Those in the area can welcome Rev. Pinkney home on Saturday, July 8, 2pm at St. Matthew & St. Joseph Episcopal Church 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI. Dinner will be served (bring a dish if you can).
Financial help is needed – we will present Rev. Pinkney with a Welcome Home check at the Detroit celebration! Send checks to ~ Moratorium NOW Coalition 5920 Second Ave. Detroit, MI 48202 (on memo line write: Welcome Home Rev. Pinkney). Let’s give Rev. Pinkney a big welcome home!
By David Sole posted on June 13, 2017
Exactly two years and six months after being locked up, Michigan’s political prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, walked out from behind the bars. His spouse, Dorothy Pinkney, waited for him at the Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Mich., on the morning of June 13, ready to drive him to their home in the small town of Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan.
Two nights before his release, Workers World asked Pinkney whether he was “packed and ready to go.” He replied, “I’ve been packed and ready for two-and-a-half years.” Those familiar with the case cannot believe that this 68-year-old African-American community leader could have been charged, tried and convicted on no evidence.
Pinkney faced a white judge, a white prosecutor and an all-white jury on frame-up charges of having altered some dates on a recall petition against Benton Harbor’s then-mayor, James Hightower. There were no confession, no forensic evidence and no witnesses against him.
All activists are threatened by his conviction, which was upheld last year by the Michigan Court of Appeals. That court ruled that Rev. Pinkney had the greatest animosity to the mayor and therefore could be assumed to have committed the crime. The case is now headed for the Michigan Supreme Court. Even if that court were to exonerate Rev. Pinkney, they cannot give him back the hard 30 months he has already served.
Detroit area supporters are holding a “Welcome Home Rev. Pinkney” dinner on Saturday, July 8, at which Rev. Pinkney will speak. It will be at the St. Matthew – St. Joseph Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, and will run from 2 to 5 p.m.
A “Welcome Home” fund has been established to help the Pinkneys get back on their feet. On line, you can go to https://www.youcaring.com/reedwardandmrspinkney-843978 and click on that to make your donation. Or send a check to Moratorium Now Coalition (memo – Rev. Pinkney), 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.
Join the protest July 11 at Berrien County Court
When: Tuesday, July 11, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Where: Berrien County Courthouse (811 Port Street, St. Joseph, MI 49085) Bring: Signs, water, friends and family
In the American criminal justice system, justice is totally absent. There is no such thing as justice in America for the poor. The criminalization of U.S. citizens by the injustice system is now one of America’s largest industries. Prisons have been privatized and inmates comprise cheap labor for big corporations. The United States of America not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison, it has the highest absolute number, substantially higher than authoritarian China—a country whose population is four times the size of the United States, but a country with fewer people in prison.
On Tues. July 11, we will gather at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Berrien County Courthouse (811 Port St., St. Joseph). We will march, and at noon we will protest in front of Whirlpool Headquarters.
The state of Democracy is detestable, and we are not about to sit back and let it continue its course. Corporations’ interests are not above the rights of every day human beings like you and me. Whirlpool Corporation is responsible for the death of 79 people in London and we must stop the hostile takeover of the city of Benton Harbor. They must be held accountable to the people. Let’s confront the criminal justice system and the corporations that are destroying our country!
Charles Lewis, a juvenile lifer from Detroit who has served over 41 years since the age of 17 in the MDOC for a murder he did not commit, said he met Rev. Pinkney while Pinkney was at Lakeland Correctional Facility. He said that they became good friends while walking the yard together. Rev. Pinkney told VOD that he remembers Lewis very well.
Lewis told VOD, “I could not believe that this guy was in prison with us lifers for the alleged crime of tampering with election petitions.” He said he was very impressed with Pinkney and his willingness to stand up to the corporate oligarchs that run this system.
For years, Rev. Pinkney fought cases of killings by racist police, and racist arrests and prison sentences visited on dozens of Benton Harbor residents. Berrien County, where Benton Harbor is located, has one of the highest incarceration rates of any county in Michigan.
There are 2.5 million prisoners, the vast majority of them people of color, in the U.S. While the U.S. represents only 5 percent of the world’s population, it has caged 25 percent of the world’s population in the concentration camps they call prisons.
Many are innocent like Lewis, many are serving natural life, a sentence unheard of in most countries for any crime, and many are still in prison far beyond their initial minimum sentences. Many are literally dying in prison.
Lewis says that due to the lack of good medical care at Lakeland, prisoners there are “dropping like flies.” He says they call the prison doctor “Dr. Death,” because many times when prisoners go into the prison hospital, they don’t come out.
VOD has noticed that its articles on prisons and the crimes of the police are attracting fewer and fewer Facebook likes. Let us NEVER forget, as we are sure Rev. Pinkney has not, that in the U.S. ALL PRISONERS ARE POLITICAL PRISONERS, victims of racism, poverty, unemployment and numerous other crimes this system has committed against them and their people.
Previous VOD stories on Rev. Pinkney: