I am appalled. Really, so angry and sad I can hardly think. And sadly, not so surprised. Racism, injustice, and represssion against those who speak out against them are hardly new.
June 26th was the trial for Reverend Ed Pinkney who I’ve written about before. He has consistently struggled against an unjust – and racist – system in Berrien County.
Working against gentrification, the theft of public land for the elite few, racism and the war on the poor has made Rev. Pinkney a target.
Rev. Pinkney, an African American resident of a town with a population that is 94% African American, was initially convicted by an all-white jury of five counts of improprieties in connection with a 2005 recall election involving the City of Benton Harbor’s most powerful commissioner.
Fast forward… while under house arrest, Pinkney continued to speak out.
On Friday, December 14, 2007 the Sheriff’s Department in Berrien County Michigan arrested Rev. Edward Pinkney and took him to the Berrien County Jail in St. Joseph (the adjoining township to Benton Harbor, Michigan). The alleged reason, his violating the conditions of his probation by being quoted in the Peoples Tribune newspaper.
In the newspaper article, Rev. Pinkney stated that he believes the Judge’s actions are contrary to God’s commandments. He then quotes from Deuteronomy 28: 15-16, 18, 22, and 45 to warn him of the consequences of his actions according to the Word of God. (The article appeared in the November issue of the Peoples Tribune.
This hearing on June 26th was to determine whether this article written amounted to threats against Judge Alfred ButzbaughIt.
Those observing the trail June 26th note that, after prosecutor Gerald Vigansky failed to make any case against Rev. Pinkney whatsoever, yet Judge Dennis Wiley jumped in, and decided threat had been made.
How exactly Rev. Pinkney will evoke this wrath of the Lord was not explained.
Bottom line: Judge Wiley sentenced Rev. Pinkney to 3-10 years in prison. The other bottom line…. there is lots of work to be done!
And remember, it’s not just Benton Harbor – there’s lots of work to be done.