Green political prisoner serves nearly three years
Compiled by Deyva Arthur, Green Party of New York State
“I am Rev Edward Pinkney a national and community activist, who tragically became a political prisoner in the state of Michigan on December 15, 2014. I was sent to prison with absolutely no evidence a crime was ever committed.” Pinkey said this shortly after his release in mid-June having served the minimum sentence of two and half years.
Pinkney is a long-time activist who has been outspoken for civil rights and taken on corporate racism against Whirlpool which dominates his home city of Benton Harbor. He has been a prominent member of the Green Party for many years and ran for seat in Congress.
In 2014, Truthout wrote “Rev. Edward Pinkney, a leader in the struggle for social and economic justice for the residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, was sentenced to serve up to 10 years in prison, on the basis of thin circumstantial evidence that a few dates had been altered on a recall petition against the city’s mayor, James Hightower. The recall was prompted by the mayor’s continued support for tax evasion by the Whirlpool Corporation, the Fortune 500 company and $19 billion global appliance manufacturer, headquartered in Benton Harbor.
“As we wrote last week in depth, the politically motivated prosecution against Pinkney killed the petition to recall Hightower, who many believe would have been ousted due to his ongoing protection of Whirlpool’s interests at the expense of impoverished Benton Harbor, which is over 90 percent African-American.”
Pinkney said that prosecution led by Mike Sepic and Berrien County trial court judge Sterling Schrock instructed the jury to convict him despite a lack of evidence. And though Pinkney states he never altered any petitions, if he had, legally the altering of a petition document should have been a misdemeanor offense, not a felony forgery with which he was sentenced for the altering of only a handful of dates.
Mary Alice Adams, a Benton Harbor commissioner said in Truthout “Rev. Pinkney was accused of writing and changing my date on a petition when, in fact, I wrote my own date and changed it after realizing I had put the wrong date down.” The jury at Pinkney’s trial rejected Adams’ testimony.
Pinkney said that in 2016 the judges in the Michigan Court of Appeals claimed he “must have told somebody to change the dates on the recall petitions. This was ridiculous, there was absolutely no evidence to support their theory. I was convicted by an all white jury that was motivated by something other than the truth…”
Undaunted, Pinkney broadcasts every Sunday at 5:00 pm eastern time on Blog Talk Radio and livestreamed at blogtalkradio.com. He said “The scale of justice is imbalanced, especially against people of color. We must continue to fight against this grave imbalance to ensure a humane, just future for people of color, the homeless, the poverty stricken, for the whole weary and beaten populace of America. All across our country, we must continue to speak truth to power. We must demand that justice be served for all people.”