Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan is a long-time community organizer who has led resistance in this predominantly African-American community to a government subservient to the Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool corporation. Benton Harbor is among the Michigan cities, including Detroit, where democratic self-governance has been replaced by “emergency financial management”.
After Pinkney led a petition effort to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor, he was arrested, charged with election fraud, and eventually sentenced to up to 10 years in prison despite a distinct lack of evidence (as explained below). Rev. Pinkney is a prominent member of the Michigan Green Party and has run for Congress on the Green line.
The overt targeting of an African-American activist for a politically-motivated prosecution is reminiscent of recent episodes involving Chuck Turner and Elston McCowan, both Greens who challenged the power structures in their communities. In a system where police officers regularly kill unarmed African-American men without facing trial, it is especially galling that the same system sentences an African-American activist to up to 10 years imprisonment on trumped-up, politically-motivated charges.
Truthout.org has the details on the trial and sentencing of Rev. Edward Pinkney: Continue Reading
Rev. Elston McCowan, a prominent Green Party member in St. Louis, is facing trial in the aftermath of an altercation that occurred outside a St. Louis town hall meeting in 2009. As Green Party Watch previously reported,
Elston McCowan, a Baptist minister and SEIU union official who ran for mayor of St. Louis in 2009 on the Green Party line, was attacked at an 8/6 town hall forum on healthcare reform outside St. Louis in Mehlville, MO. As reported by Patrick M. O’Connell of the St. Louis Dispatch, both tea party protesters and SEIU counter-protesters blame each other for instigating the violence. (full article on Green Party Watch)
McCowan’s supporters have started a facebook group called “Justice for Rev. Elston McCowan”, which gives the following information:
On Aug 6 of 2009 Rev. Elston McCowan was arrested after an altercation that occured outside a townhall meeting in St. Louis County. The video evidence suggests that Rev. McCowan was a victim. He suffered serious injuries as a result of the event. He is pending trial in St. Louis County.
Other African-American community leaders active in the Green Party who have recently been targeted by the justice system on dubious grounds include Chuck Turner and Rev. Edward Pinkney.
From Jill Stein for Governor of Massachusetts:
COME TO A COMMUNITY SPEAK-OUT & OFFICE OPENING PARTY FOR THE JILL STEIN FOR GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN! MAY 15th
Join Jill, Councilman Chuck Turner, and the campaign staff to hear members of the community speaking out for peace in the streets, youth programs, green jobs in the community, CORI reform, bringing the war money home, halting needless foreclosures and more. Expect fun, food, and live music! Children welcome!
When: Saturday, May 15th 3:00pm-7:00pm
Where: 1558 Dorchester Ave., Boston
For more information please call (617) 299-6042
FBI Case Against Turner Unravels; Renewed call for Investigation of FBI Targeting
The FBI’s “cooperating witness” who is the foundation of the FBI attempt to convict Chuck Turner and Dianne Wilkerson of extortion has announced that he is no longer cooperating with the FBI. In a front page article in Friday’s Boston Globe, Ronald Wilburn states that he “felt he had been used by the FBI to topple a pair of prominent black politicians”. Wilburn goes on to say “Dianne is a thief. Chuck isn’t. Dianne knew better. Chuck is a victim of circumstance.” Those circumstances, it should be noted, appear to have been fully engineered by the FBI informant. Importantly, the suspicious activities they suggest were initiated and carried out by the FBI informant, not by Chuck Turner. The unfolding facts thus appear not only to exonerate Turner, but also to raise serious concerns about the abuse of secret police powers by the FBI.
Posted by Jeremy Jacobs at PolitickerMA. Excerpt:
BOSTON – In an emotionally charged press conference, embattled City Councilor Chuck Turner said Monday that he is innocent and stridently criticized the press and his fellow city councilors for presuming his guilt before he has had an opportunity to defend himself in court.
Turner’s remarks came at a highly anticipated press conference on the steps of City Hall. Flanked by supporters and in front of a crowd of about 200, Turner emphatically denied allegations that he accepted a $1,000 bribe.
Turner, a Roxbury member of the Green-Rainbow Party, said that he is being tried by the media and the City Council before defending himself in court.
According to the Boston Globe, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, a Green-Rainbow Party member and City Councilor since 2000, was arrested Nov. 21 and charged with accepting a bribe. The affidavit alleges that Turner accepted a $1,000 cash bribe on Aug. 3, 2007, in exchange for pushing for a liquor license for a local business.
Video news of a rally for Turner, and actions the Boston City Council may take can be watched here.
Chuck Turner maintains his innocence, and there is a website devoted to supporting Chuck Turner here.
Thanks to Mike Indiana for alerting us to this story! More as we know more.