Black Autonomy Network Community Organization

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The Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) is a political and social justice coalition working in Benton Harbor, Michigan, US. It was founded to protest the June 16, 2003 death of a 28 year old African-American, Terrance Shurn, while being pursued by Benton Township police. A riot followed the death, as accounts differed as to whether Shurn had lost control of his motorcycle or had been forced off the road by police.

BANCO organized rallies in the days following Shurn's death and the resulting disturbance. It has since broadened its scope to support candidates for local office. BANCO retains its focus on monitoring police activities.

In September 2004, BANCO announced it had purchased facilities to open a textile plant in Benton Harbor. The cloth-cutting operation is intended to alleviate poverty by offering local employment opportunities. The plant has yet to open as of December 2009.

BANCO reportedly attempts to continue the work of the American civil rights movement.

In February 2005, BANCO founder Ed Pinkney organized a recall election of city commissioner Glenn Yarborough. Pinkney, a resident of neighboring Benton Township (not of the city of Benton Harbor) and therefore unable to vote in the election himself, has been charged with voter fraud, allegedly paying Benton Harbor residents to vote to oust Yarborough. Charges involved illegal possession and distribution of absentee ballots, illegal voter registration of people not living in the city, and payment for votes. Pinkney maintains his innocence. In a second recall election in August 2005, city voters retained Yarborough as at-large city commissioner.

On March 27, 2006, a Berrien County jury was unable to come to a consensus verdict in Pinkney's felony election fraud case. A mistrial was declared. County officials decided to retry Mr. Pinkney on March 29, 2006.

On March 22, 2007, a Berrien County jury convicted Pinkney of 5 counts.[1]

1 - Influencing voters with money 2 - Influencing voters while voting 3 - Possession of Danielle William's absentee ballot 4 - Possession of Rosie Miles's absentee ballot 5 - Possession of LaToya William's absentee ballot


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