Benton Harbor, Mich., Civil Rights activist convicted by all-white jury

first_imgRev. Pinkney, right, at “Occupy the PGA” protest, May 2012.The Rev. Edward Pinkney was found guilty of five felony counts of forgery stemming from a recall campaign against Mayor James Hightower of Benton Harbor, Mich., earlier this year.The all-white jury in St. Joseph, Mich., deliberated for nine hours and delivered the verdict on Nov. 3. The sentencing date has been set for Dec. 15.Hightower was the subject of the recall campaign due to his refusal to support a local income tax measure designed to create employment for the people in Benton Harbor, located in Berrien County in the southwest region of the state. Hightower is often accused by residents of Benton Harbor of being more concerned about the well-being of Whirlpool Corp. and other business interests than the people he is sworn to protect and serve.During the five-day trial, not one witness said they saw Pinkney change any dates or signatures on the recall petitions. During the opening arguments on Oct. 27, Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic told the jury that they would not hear anyone say that they had witnessed the defendant engaging in fraud.The prosecutor’s case was supposed to be based on circumstantial evidence. Nonetheless, the tenor of the questioning by the prosecutor seemed to suggest that the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), the group Pinkney leads in Berrien County, was actually on trial for its uncompromising opposition to the role of Whirlpool Corp. and its supporters within the political establishment in Benton Harbor and its environs.Prosecution witnesses backed recallIn the testimony of eight witnesses called by the prosecution on the first day of the trial, all had supported the recall of Mayor Hightower. The witnesses said that they never saw Pinkney change any petitions.Prosecution witness Bridgett Gilmore told the court that she circulated the recall petitions for George E. Moon and had no contact with Pinkney during the process. While the prosecutor asked her about what appeared to be minor changes on the petitions she circulated, defense lawyer Tat Parrish pointed out that none of these pages in question were the ones which Pinkney was charged with altering.Gilmore noted that two types of ink were used on some of the signatures because the circulation process took place during the winter and a pen would freeze requiring the usage of another one. When Gilmore turned over the petitions to Moon, Pinkney was not present.“There were many people calling for Hightower’s recall,” she said.Another witness called by the prosecution, Majorie Carter, indicated that she received the recall petitions from the City Clerk’s office. Carter supported the recall because she believed that businesses should pay taxes to create jobs in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American city which suffers from extremely high unemployment.Carter said that she was a registered voter and had campaigned for candidates before. She noted that she had run for city commissioner in the past.“I collected signatures for the recall from my apartment complex for seniors,” she said. “One signer corrected a date on the petition.”Mable Louise Avant testified after being called to the stand by the prosecution. She said she had met Pinkney at a BANCO meeting.“I had been living in New York and when I returned and saw how Benton Harbor had gone down, something needed to be done,” Avant said.“People make mistakes,” she emphasized. “Rev. Pinkney had nothing to do with the mistakes. I turned over the petitions to Rev. Pinkney.”The petitions that Avant circulated were not the ones that Pinkney was accused of altering.Benton Harbor resident George E. Moon also took the stand for the prosecution, and indicated he had circulated petitions for the recall of Hightower. When asked by the prosecutor where he got the idea about recalling the mayor, Moon responded by saying: “My ideology is different than the mayor. People should be elected and not bought.”“I am an activist,” Moon declared. He said he had spoken out in favor of the recall in the community.Overall, more than 700 people signed the recall petitions, most of which were validated by the local election commission. A date was set for the recall election.Nonetheless, after Pinkney was indicted and placed under house arrest for several weeks, the recall election was cancelled by a local judge who raised questions about the signatures. Yet later, another judge certified the petitions and authorized the recall election to proceed.The local authorities in Berrien County challenged the election, which was scheduled for Nov. 4. The Michigan Court of Appeals then cancelled the recall election again.Hightower remains in office and was called as a prosecution witness during the first day of the trial.James Cornelius, a Benton Harbor resident who sponsored the recall campaign against Hightower, took the stand, saying that he got the petitions from Pinkney to circulate. “Hightower was not doing a good job,” Cornelius told the court.Many of the prosecution’s questions related to the meetings, ideology, membership and leadership of BANCO. During the course of the prosecution’s questioning of witnesses, numerous observers were ejected from the courtroom for various reasons.One activist who traveled from Detroit was told he had to leave because he was “smirking.” Another observer from Detroit was asked to leave because she shook her head in disbelief of the proceedings, which she felt presented no evidence to incriminate Pinkney.Rev. Pinkney to seek delay in sentencingAfter the announcement of the verdict, Pinkney indicated that he was disappointed with the decisions of the all-white jury. This is the second time within seven years that he has been convicted by a Berrien County jury.In 2007, Pinkney was found guilty of tampering with absentee ballots involving another recall campaign against two Benton Harbor city commissioners. He was sentenced to one year of house arrest and four years of probation.However, in December of 2007, while under house arrest, Pinkney was charged with threatening the life of a Berrien County judge after he published an article in the People’s Tribune newspaper quoting biblical scriptures. He was sentenced to 3-10 years for violating his probation.A national campaign involving the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union along with numerous community, academic and religious organizations resulted in a successful appeal that released Pinkney from a state prison after serving one year. He has continued to be a major critic of the authorities in Berrien County.In 2010, BANCO opposed the transferal of land from Jean Klock Park to a privately owned venture known as Harbor Shores Development. The park, which had been designated for free public usage in 1917, was turned into the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on Lake Michigan.Two years later, in 2012, BANCO organized the “Occupy the PGA” to oppose the holding of the senior tournaments in Benton Harbor that year. Hundreds attended the march and rally, drawing the ire of the local business interests and county officials.On the most recent convictions for felony forgery, Pinkney said: “I was in shock more than anything else because I could not believe they could find me guilty with no evidence at all. They have proven the fact you don’t need evidence to send someone to prison.”Pinkney added: “Sometimes somebody has to take a bullet and I just took one. It was in the leg though, it wasn’t in the heart. I’ve got about 45 good days and then we are definitely going to request a delay in sentencing.”Prosecutor Mike Sepic said after the convictions that “each of those felony counts carries a 5-year maximum, but he has at least three prior felony convictions. That makes him a habitual offender, which turns those five-year maximums into a life maximum and actually elevates the guidelines that will be scored for him as well. I believe it will be either a lengthy jail sentence or prison sentence.”Supporters of Rev. Pinkney are outraged by the jury verdict. Many of them are committed to working for an appeal of the convictions.Legacy of racism and national oppressionBerrien County is notorious for its racism against African Americans. Police brutality, large-scale home foreclosures, high unemployment and the systematic forcing of people from the majority African-American city of Benton Harbor have been standard policies for years.In 2003, after the police chased an African-American motorcyclist, resulting in a crash and his death, the African-American community in Benton Harbor rose up in rebellion that lasted for several days.Although the then governor, Jennifer Granholm, pledged to provide assistance for the improvement of conditions in Benton Harbor, no action was taken other than the privatization of Jean Klock Park and the appointment of an emergency manager in 2010.Although Benton Harbor is ostensibly out from under emergency management, the city is subjected to the more powerful and predominantly white St. Joseph, where the county court system is based. The fact that an all-white jury was impaneled in such a racially sensitive case in an area with deep historical tensions, speaks volumes with regard to the lack of sensitivity existing among the county authorities and the corporate interests.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Opposition newspaper editor freed after being held secretly for more than a month

first_img Organisation January 6, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Opposition newspaper editor freed after being held secretly for more than a month Sudan : Press freedom still in transition a year after Omar al-Bashir’s removal Hussein Khogali, the publisher and editor of the independent, Arabic-language daily Alwan, was freed on 5 January after more than a month in detention. The police secretly held him in Khartoum’s Kober prison from 22 November until 18 December, allowing him no contact with either his lawyer or family. They then moved him to a military hospital because he has an abdominal hernia. While there, he was guarded by two members of the National Security Agency (NSA) and was allowed to receive visits from his wife. Very occasional visits by other family members were also allowed. He was held under article 31 of the National Security Act which empowers the security forces to hold someone for three to six months without charge.——————————-30 November, 2004Opposition newspaper editor held in secret location for past weekReporters Without Borders voiced alarm today about the detention of Hussein Khogali, the publisher and editor of the independent Arabic-language daily Alwan, who has been held by the police in an undisclosed location since 22 November without being charged. It is believed he may be in Kober prison, but neither his family nor his lawyer has been allowed to contact him. The police also confiscated the newspaper’s entire 23 November issue.”We have a right to be worried when, after several months of harassment and surveillance, a journalist is arrested and held in a secret location,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is unacceptable the way they have virtually made him disappear. The Sudanese authorities must say what he is charged with, and whatever the charges, they must guarantee his rights as a citizen.”Khogali was already imprisoned for 17 days in September, and was only released on condition he stopped writing in his own newspaper. He was told this verbally by members of the National Security Agency (NSA) who, according to a local source, suspected him of continuing to write the occasional article.The authorities have always considered Khogali to be a sympathiser of Hassan Alturabi, the leader of the Islamist opposition Popular National Congress (PNC), and his newspaper has been viewed as the PNC’s semi-official mouthpiece. But Khogali has always insisted the newspaper is independent.After his release in September, the NSA asked him to accuse Alturabi and his party of plotting a coup and sowing discord in the capital, Khartoum, but he refused. NSA agents paid several unannounced visits to the newspaper’s printing works in October and November, gathering information and taking away articles. RSF_en News to go further Help by sharing this information News SudanAfrica Newscenter_img News Receive email alerts SudanAfrica April 10, 2020 Find out more April 6, 2020 Find out more Covid-19 in Africa: RSF joins a coalition of civil society organizations to demand the release of imprisoned journalists on the continent Follow the news on Sudan Coronavirus infects press freedom in Africa March 29, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Emap’s Net news fails to impress weary City

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. This week’s stock market reviewLast week, UK magazine group Emap announced plans to spend £250m on buildingInternet ventures over the next three years, with the first tranche of £75m tobe spent this year. The company is optimistic that its proposed on-linestrategy will increase its revenues stream significantly. The key part of Emap’s proposals is investing in wholly-owned digitalbusinesses, as well as pursuing joint ventures. It also plans to buy relatedInternet businesses. But the announcement failed to impress the City and Emap’s stock price fellsharply. It is obvious that many analysts are becoming weary of media companiesannouncing their Web strategies.Freeserve shows strong growth but still has some way to goFreeserve has been trying hard to recover from its recent difficultiesfollowing the decision by its US rivals Alta Vista and NTL to cut theirInternet access charges. The company last week served a surprisingly good setof revenue figures to market analysts. It also revealed an increase in thenumber of its service users. The 36 per cent rise in revenues for the third quarter to January suggeststhat Freeserve may have a few aces to serve at its competitors. Freeserve’s active users are fast approaching two million but many analystsremain cautious about the company’s prospects. Although it remains the UK’slargest Internet provider, it is clearly not out of the woods yet since itsstock price suffered huge setbacks recently over fears that many of itscustomers might be lured away by price-cutting rivals. The City is becoming less bullish on the stock, mindful that the advent ofcheaper phone charges may prolong the date when Freeserve will becomeprofitable.”New economy” stocks are losing their lustreEvidence is emerging that investors are getting cold feet about “neweconomy” stocks. Many stocks are coming under pressure as agrowing number of investors switch back to the tried and tested old economystocks, particularly in the banking sector. Much of the gains achieved by the FTSE 100 last week came from value stocksthat are traditionally regarded as safe bets. And the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage recorded its single highest one-day rise, when it clocked up 500 pointson Thursday, due largely to good performance of old economy stocks.Winners and losers in LondonLast week some of the biggest casualties in London were KingstonCommunications, Sage and WPP. BP Amoco and Royal & Sun Alliance were amongthe best performers. BP Amoco’s strong performance was on the back of high oilprices and news that it has cleared the final hurdle to its $27bn takeover ofArco of the US. Comments are closed. Emap’s Net news fails to impress weary CityOn 21 Mar 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Minister laments Siasia’s mother kidnap

first_imgRelatedPosts UNGA President sets agenda for world leaders in next General Debate Woman disrupts wedding over COVID-19 rules + video South, Middle Belt, Northern Minorities meet in US, call for unity, restructuring The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has assured embattled former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia, of his mother’s return from kidnappers’ den.The Minister, who joined President Muhammadu Buhari’s entourage to the United Nations General Assembly in the United States of America, stated this on Wednesday.Dare, via his Twitter handle, wrote: “I just arrived New York and noted conversations around Siasia (Samson). I recall he came to visit me but I was unavailable. I subsequently sent a sorry note to which he responded. The relevant agencies are at work. We hope they yield results as they have on many previous occasions.“Our prayers are with Siasia and his family over these developments. Siasia served the country well. A football veteran no doubt.”Ogere Siasia, 76, and two others have been held captive since they were seized in Bayelsa, southern Nigeria 10 weeks ago.A former international, Siasia won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria and played in their maiden World Cup appearance later that same year.As a coach he led his country’s under-20 and under-23 sides to continental success in 2005 and 2015 respectively.He also guided the U20s to a runners-up finish at the 2005 World Youth Championships (as it was known at the time) in the Netherlands.Siasia is the most decorated African football coach at the Olympics, winning silver at the Beijing Games in 2008 and bronze at the 2016 Games in Rio.Tags: New Yorklast_img read more

Dodgers, outfielder A.J. Pollock agree to 4-year, $55 million deal

first_imgPollock joins multi-position players Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor as right-handed options along with left-handed hitters Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and Andrew Toles.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.“We had enough depth to field two starting outfields,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said after the trade sending Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Cincinnati Reds in December. “It’s much more functional at this point. Having six-plus outfielders isn’t fair to anybody.”There have been persistent rumors this winter about potential trades involving Pederson or Verdugo which would make things more “fair” – and give the Dodgers more room under the luxury tax threshold. Pederson recently signed a one-year contract for $5 million next season.Of the current group, Pollock has the most experience in center field and will likely share the position with Bellinger, who made 50 starts there last year.A time-share arrangement in center field could minimize the injury risk with Pollock, who has played more than 113 games just once in the past five seasons due to a series of injuries – a broken thumb in 2018, a groin injury in 2017, a fractured elbow in 2016 and a broken hand in 2014. LOS ANGELES — A month after trading away two right-handed hitting outfielders, the Dodgers signed one to try and restore some balance to their outfield.Free agent A.J. Pollock agreed to a multi-year contract with the Dodgers, signing a complicated deal that softens the hit to the Dodgers’ payroll for competitive-balance tax purposes. According to reports, the deal is for at least four years and $55 million but includes a player option after the fourth year and an opt-out clause after the third year. Both are linked to Pollock reaching certain plate appearance markers.The fifth year would add $10 million to the deal if exercised, $5  million if the Dodgers buy out the extra year. But the deal counts for $12 million annually against the luxury tax threshold (set at $206 million for 2019).The addition of the 31-year-old Pollock restores the outfield glut that seems to be an annual feature of the Dodgers – and likely ends whatever dalliance the Dodgers had with signing the winter’s best free-agent outfielder, Bryce Harper. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies His lone healthy season in that stretch was a good one. He made the All-Star team in 2015, posting career-highs in games played (157), batting average (.315), on-base percentage (.386), slugging percentage (.498) and runs scored (111).Last season, Pollock hit .257 with an .800 OPS in 113 games, missing two months with the thumb injury.The Arizona Diamondbacks extended a qualifying offer to Pollock following the 2018 season which he rejected. That means the Dodgers will surrender their second-highest pick outside the first round as well as $500,000 in international bonus pool money. The Dodgers will receive an extra pick after catcher Yasmani Grandal signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. But this represents the first time the Dodgers have sacrificed a draft pick in order to sign a player under Friedman’s leadership.last_img read more