Jan 19, 2015
Political activist, 66-year-old Reverend Edward Pinkney, who has organized against the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in the majority black city of Benton Harbor, Michigan, was sentenced in December to 2.5 to 10 years in Jackson Prison. He was convicted in October of five felony counts of “forgery under the Michigan election law.”
An all-white jury from the majority white County of Berrien convicted the black community activist. Reverend Pinkney had collected signatures to recall the Mayor of Benton Harbor. The felony convictions were over dates that were changed next to five signatures.
In addition to not having a jury of his peers, two other factors point to a political railroading. The original copies of the petitions are apparently “lost” – xeroxes were used for trial. Second, after the verdict, one of the jurors was found to be a friend of the Berrien County Clerk (who turned over the petitions) and a friend of the Berrien County Sheriff.
The recall campaign cited the mayor’s backing by Whirlpool Corporation, which closed all its local factories while receiving tax breaks and recently took over a large swath of the city’s public land. The recall attempt came after the mayor opposed a plan to tax local corporations.
This case exposes just how much the “justice system” in northern cities resembles the vile racism of the Jim Crow South.