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 by Edward Pinkney 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 [1] [dead link] as to whether Shurn had lost control of his motorcycle or had been forced off the road by police. [2]

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 was intended to alleviate poverty by offering local employment opportunities. The plant has yet to open as of January 2015.

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

Founder Edward Pinkney[edit]

In February 2005, BANCO founder Edward 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, was 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. In a second recall election in August 2005, city voters retained Yarborough as at-large city commissioner.[citation needed]

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 Pinkney on March 29, 2006.[citation needed]

On March 22, 2007, a Berrien County jury convicted Pinkney of 5 counts.[3] He was sentenced to probation,[4] but was jailed for violating probation in 2008.[5]

In 2009, Pinkney co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)'s Benton Harbor, Michigan chapter and was elected its president.[6]

In November 2014, Pinkney was convicted of felony forgery charges in Michigan.[7] In December 2014, Edward Pinkney was sentenced to 2½ to 10 years in prison.[8][9][10] Pinkney maintains his innocence.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20030802233841/http://www.wndu.com/news/062003/news_20421.php
  2. ^ http://www.fightbacknews.org/2003-3-summer/bentonharbor.htm
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-04. Retrieved 2012-07-16. 
  4. ^ WSBT-TV (December 15, 2014). "Judge sentences Pinkney to at least 2.5 years for election fraud". WSBT-TV. Retrieved January 3, 2015. The judge responded by reminding Pinkney he was a habitual offender and then sentenced him to two and a half to ten years in prison….Pinkney's lengthy criminal past had a impact on his sentencing. His first run in with the law was 1988 for assault with a dangerous weapon out of California, followed in 1990 by a theft conviction out of St. Louis, Missouri, then in 1999 was convicted in Berrien County of embezzlement and in 2007 was convicted 4 felony counts of violating election laws. This year's case is 5 felonies for election forgery. That brings the total to 12 felonies, with 9 of those related to interference with the election process. Pinkney served about 18-months in prison for the 1999 conviction, all other cases he got probation on. The judge said he was against probation this time because Pinkney did not seem to be reformed from his last probation opportunity and getting involved again with interfering with the election process. 
  5. ^ David Ashenfelter (April 9, 2012). "Benton Harbor activist files suit against NAACP". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 4, 2015. Pinkney admits he is controversial, but said he has done a good job of leading the chapter. He said he has paid a steep price for his activism, noting that he spent 11 months in jail and prison in 2008 on what he said were bogus charges of election fraud and probation violation in a recall campaign. 
  6. ^ David Ashenfelter (April 9, 2012). "Benton Harbor activist files suit against NAACP". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ Brittany Corl (November 3, 2014). "VERDICT: Rev. Edward Pinkney convicted of election fraud". ABC 57. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ Associated Press (December 16, 2014). "Man sentenced in Benton Harbor election fraud". The Detroit News. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ Alexandra Koehn (December 15, 2014). "Edward Pinkney sentenced on election fraud charges". ABC 57. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  10. ^ WSBT-TV (December 15, 2014). "Judge sentences Pinkney to at least 2.5 years for election fraud". WSBT-TV. Retrieved January 3, 2015. The judge responded by reminding Pinkney he was a habitual offender and then sentenced him to two and a half to ten years in prison….Pinkney's lengthy criminal past had a impact on his sentencing. His first run in with the law was 1988 for assault with a dangerous weapon out of California, followed in 1990 by a theft conviction out of St. Louis, Missouri, then in 1999 was convicted in Berrien County of embezzlement and in 2007 was convicted 4 felony counts of violating election laws. This year's case is 5 felonies for election forgery. That brings the total to 12 felonies, with 9 of those related to interference with the election process. Pinkney served about 18-months in prison for the 1999 conviction, all other cases he got probation on. The judge said he was against probation this time because Pinkney did not seem to be reformed from his last probation opportunity and getting involved again with interfering with the election process. 
  11. ^ Jasmine Norwood (December 12, 2014). "Rev. Edward Pinkney speaks out before sentencing". ABC 57. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]