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Rev. Edward Pinkney is latest African-American Green leader targeted for political prosecution

p edward pinkneyRev. 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 Benton Harbor is among the Michigan cities, including Detroit, where democratic self-governance has been replaced by “emergency financial management”.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

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Supporters rally around Rev. Elston McCowan, facing trial after St. Louis Tea Party incident

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.

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Green mayoral candidate attacked at St. Louis town hall

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.

Among the injured was Kenneth Gladney, 38, of St. Louis. He said he was with the Tea Party, handing out yellow flags with “Don’t tread on me” printed on them, when he was assaulted. He said he sought hospital treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face.

“I was attacked for something I believe in,” he said.

But Elston McCowan, an SEIU staffer, said Gladney was actually an instigator. McCowan accused Gladney of attacking him as he walked to his car. McCowan said he suffered a dislocated shoulder.

“Out of nowhere, the guy just assaults me,” said McCowan, 47, of St. Louis.

This Youtube video of the incident gives a better idea of what happened. Continue Reading