Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from a statement that Rev. Pinkney made in the courtroom to the judge right before he was sentenced.
“I’ve committed no crime. In fact, if I was anyone else, I would not be here. I can’t say if anyone changed the dates on the petitions. The prosecutor knows I haven’t committed any crime. I minister to people in this courtroom. I’ve been fighting to bring about a change in our community. Nowhere in the history of mankind can a person be convicted of a crime with no evidence. The jury was motivated by something other than the truth. I am very disappointed in the system itself. The jury took an oath that justice would be served. They failed the people of Benton Harbor and Berrien County. I know there was a jurist who lied to be on the jury. Still, I’m standing here. I could not believe the jury would find me guilty if they followed the instructions. We have to take a stand against some of the things that have happened in Benton Harbor. I can’t say if someone changed the dates but the prosecutor knows I didn’t do it. My wife and children are hurt. I will continue to fight. Over 90% of the people of Benton Harbor stand with me and understand there’s no evidence. I’m hurt. I can’t see how something like this can happen.” — Rev. Edward Pinkney