|Anthony Freda Art|
May 7, 2015
In 2015, outrageous arrests, nonsensical verdicts, and felonious rulings have become the norm in the US Justice system. In the case of Rev. Edward Pinkney, however, it appears that all three have coalesced to make up one open case of political imprisonment.
First arrested on charges of election fraud regarding a recall attempt that Pinkney led against Benton Harbor, Michigan Mayor James Hightower, Pinkney was sentenced to up to ten years in prison on felony charges although they should only have been prosecuted as a misdemeanor, according to those representing Pinkney.
The recall of Mayor Hightower was part of a larger battle being waged by Pinkney and his associates who were fighting for the people of Benton Harbor, a city that has been ravaged by decades of economic decline, austerity policies, and emergency managers as well as the corporate control of the Whirlpool Corporation.
The arrest and trial of Pinkney has been a political witch hunt and public circus since day one. A SWAT raid was launched in order to serve Pinkney a warrant, complete with the surrounding Pinkney’s home in full military regalia and closing off the street as if it were an armed standoff. Sherriff’s deputies then proceeded to raid the homes of petition signers in order to get them to testify that Pinkney had forged their signatures.
Pinkney’s trial was complete with a stacked jury including members who lied under oath regarding their connections to members of the prosecution or key witnesses in the case.
That Pinkney was convicted in a kangaroo court is clear enough. However, the insanity did not stop at his imprisonment.
Judge Sterling Schrock has now ordered Rev. Pinkney to pay restitution to Mayor James Hightower for the campaign costs he incurred as a result of the recall election. In addition, Judge Schrock has ordered Rev. Pinkney to pay around $1,800 dollars for “neck pain” that Hightower experienced as a result of the stress of facing a recall election. The $1,800 is presumably the estimated cost of the time Hightower had to take off to “deal with the stress of the situation.”
Such an outrageous ruling is not only evidence of the fact that the courts themselves are entirely corrupt, but also that political dissent in Berrien County, Benton Harbor, Michigan, and the country as a whole is under attack. Mayor Hightower’s pathetic whining about stress from facing a legitimate recall election is merely an expression of another privileged aristocrat who became upset when his perceived authority was challenged. Judge Schrock’s ruling is merely one more example of a court system working hand in hand with the local and corporate ruling class to maintain the status quo of oppression and submission in the ranks of the general public in their districts.
Pinkney’s persecution is a warning to all activists that the system, when challenged, will attempt to do whatever it can to fight back and remove the dissenters.
Yet Pinkney’s determination is also a lesson to activists all across the world. When he was free, Pinkney led a movement to resist austerity, a corrupt mayor, and corporatocracy. Now, while in jail, Pinkney is not only appealing and fighting his imprisonment, but the conditions of the prisons and prisoners contained in them.
Listen to Rev. Pinkney tell the story of his arrest and trial on my show, Truth on the Tracks, below:
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