The US media will howl over Navalny, just as they did over Pussy Riot, but before they throw too many stones, they should be reminded of the glass house they inhabit:
Civil rights leader Rev. Edward Pinkney sentenced to 2 ½ to 10 years by Berrien County Court, from San Fransisco Bay View:
Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), Rev. Edward Pinkney, to 30-120 months in prison based on an all-white jury’s verdict of guilty on five felony counts of forgery. The charges stemmed from a successful recall petition drive against Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who is perceived as a tool of the Whirlpool Corp. and the political power structure in the area.
The judge explained in court, according to ABC News, that Mayor Hightower had suffered psychological distress following the recall. The judge said the mayor’s distress played a role in his sentencing decision.
Pinkney has been a longtime activist in Berrien County, where Benton Harbor is located, and his work in the state of Michigan has drawn national attention. This is the second time in seven years that the BANCO leader has been convicted on charges related to efforts to hold local officials accountable to the people.
Activists present from various cities were outraged at what they perceived as a total travesty of justice carried out by the local courts. They pointed out that police who have been videotaped killing African Americans were allowed to go free, while Pinkney had been convicted and sentenced to prison without any material evidence.
During the prosecution’s presentation of its case against Pinkney during Octobert and November, there was no eyewitness testimony that would implicate the Berrien County activist in the alleged crimes committed. Even though the prosecutor and judge said the evidence was circumstantial, there were no clear cut motivations articulated which would place Pinkney in a position to change the dates on the recall petitions.
No handwriting experts testified who could determine that it was Pinkney who changed the dates. A series of witnesses called by the prosecution stated unequivocally that they circulated the recall petitions based upon their desire to replace Hightower who opposed a tax measure that would provide corporate resources for the rehabilitation of Benton Harbor in the interests of its poorest residents.
Prior to the sentencing, Rev. Pinkney spoke to the court, saying that he was not guilty and “would not admit to something I did not do. I am hurt that this jury convicted me without any evidence.”
He later turned to prosecutor Sepic, pointing at him, saying, “You know I did not do anything illegal.” Prior to sentencing, Judge Schrock lectured Rev. Pinkney, saying that his sentencing is designed to send a message.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE:
After Taking on Whirlpool Corp., Black Activist in Small Michigan Town Set to Serve Jail Time for A Minor Offense:
Written by Nick Chiles, Editor-in-Chief of AtlantaBlackStar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. He has written or co-written 13 books and won over a dozen major journalism awards.
Point-by-point breakdown with links by Matthew D. Hoel:
1. Sheriff said to Berrien County Republicans “We got him!”
2. At least two Whirlpool lawyers were at the trial.
3. There was a racist juror on the jury.
4. Jurors were asked if they could convict with no evidence.
5. Jurors were told circumstantial evidence was as good as direct evidence.
Prosecutor Sepic told jury they would not hear any witnesses testifying to actual fraud.
6. Handwriting expert said there was no way to tell if Pinkney changed the signatures.
7. History of persecution against Pinkney (prior charges in 2007).
8. Unrelated appeal said election fraud charges were misdemeanors, not felonies.
9. Pinkney is always optimistic and cheerful. He does not hold any grudges or hate those who are persecuting him. He speaks like a man who has the moral high ground. He has been interviewed weekly by Webster Tarpley on the podcast “World Crisis Radio” for the last several months. He earnest attitude comes through in the interviews.
10. The jury was all white.
11. A white defendant received a misdemeanor conviction on similar charges.
12. A SWAT team was sent to arrest him on election fraud charges.
13. Gentrification of Benton Harbor is the goal.
http://www.bhbanco.org/search?q=whirlpool (Thurs., July 29th, 2010 entry)
14. One of the jurors lied in court to get on the jury. She had connections to the prosecution.
15. Prosecutor Sepic is protecting a friend of his guilty of embezzlement.