FEAR's report on the Rainbow Farm tragedy
Thu Sep 6 14:25:52 2001
Date: Wed, 05 Sep 2001 22:07:20 -0700
From: Brenda Grantland firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: FEAR: FEAR's report on the Rainbow Farm tragedy
Reply-To: Brenda Grantland
Organization: Forfeiture Endangers American Rights
Amid a flurry of internet questions about what happened at Rainbow
Farm, and a near total blackout in the mainstream press, we've asked
Ellen Komp to give an accurate report on the subject, summarizing all
the available information. Here's her report:
PLEASE CROSS-POST AND DISTRIBUTE WIDELY
Drug War Waco on FBI Chief Mueller's
First Day in Office
Forfeiture Stand-Off Ends in Two Deaths
by Ellen Komp, anti-Drug War activist, 09/05/01
Grover T. "Tom" Crosslin, 47, who owned Rainbow Farm campground in
Newberg Township, Michigan, was shot and killed by an FBI "observer"
on Monday, September 3 after a four-day standoff at the campground.
One day later, Crosslin's roommate Rolland Eugene Rohm, 28, was
fatally shot at the property by a Michigan State Police officer. Both
men allegedly aimed guns at the law enforcement agents who shot them.
According to news reports from local papers and the Associated Press,
the situation began Friday when deputies went to the farm after
neighbors said Crosslin was burning buildings on his property, which
is the target of civil forfeiture proceedings. The fires "were set by
Crosslin - not law enforcement," a statement earlier Monday
expressing hope for a peaceful resolution said. "It should be noted
forfeiture proceedings for this property had previously been
initiated in May 2001 and Crosslin was aware of the fact he was in
the process of losing Rainbow Farm," the statement said.
"This drug war isn't a metaphor anymore. They're killing us now for
resisting them," said attorney Brenda Grantland, President of the
Board of Directors of FEAR (Forfeiture Endangers Americans Rights,
Authorities arrested Crosslin and five others in May after a two-year
investigation into allegations of marijuana use at the 34-acre
campground. A court order issued in June prohibited Crosslin from
having festival gatherings at the farm, whose Web site says it
''supports the medical, spiritual and responsible recreational uses
of marijuana for a more sane and compassionate America.'' Police
allege he violated the order by holding a festival August 17-18,
which prompted the bond hearing.
Crosslin, owner of Rainbow Farm since 1993, had been charged in May
with manufacturing marijuana, more than 200 plants, a 15-year felony;
maintaining a drug house, a two-year misdemeanor; and felony firearm,
a five-year felony. Rohm was charged with manufacturing marijuana,
maintaining a drug house and felony firearm.
Crosslin was scheduled to appear in court Friday for a hearing to
revoke his $150,000 bond. But instead he skipped the hearing and then
allegedly set fire to buildings on his property, which he had stood
to lose under the state's Drug Forfeiture Act. Police said an
anonymous telephone caller told them the fires were set "to ambush
law enforcement officers when they arrived in response to the fire.''
It's believed Crosslin or Rohm fired shots at three aircraft that
flew over the property. One of the aircraft, a helicopter used by
WNDU-TV, Channel 16, South Bend, was damaged.
The FBI had joined Cass County Sheriff's deputies and Michigan State
Police on Sunday. On Monday, Crosslin had federal charges levied
against him, resulting in the dispatch of FBI agents and a federal
warrant against Crosslin on charges of attempted destruction of an
aircraft and using a firearm to commit a felony. He was facing up to
30 years in prison if convicted of those.
Rohm's stepfather, John Livermore, said he and Rohm's mother drove
all night from Tennessee to try to help police negotiate, but were
never allowed to speak to Rohm, who Livermore said has a learning
disability. Livermore said he believes Rohm left the house because he
thought police were going to allow him to see his 12-year-old son,
Robert. The boy had been taken from the campground and put into
foster care by the Family Independence Agency after the drug arrests
in May, according to Crosslin's attorney Dori Leo.
Early Tuesday, Rohm had said he would surrender at 7 a.m. if his son
were brought to see him, Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood, Jr.
said. The sheriff said police were in the process of granting the
request when shortly after 6 a.m., a fire was reported at the
compound. Rohm was then seen leaving the residence with a long gun
and walking into the yard, Underwood said. That's when the
confrontation with police took place.
Buzz Daily, 44, a Cass County farmer, said Crosslin and Rohm were
known for their generosity. At Christmas, he said, they would drive
their pickup truck into Vandalia and distribute gifts throughout the
town of about 350 residents. They also would buy food and clothes for
people staying at the campground, he said.
Daily also lashed out at police, saying he could not imagine Crosslin
or Rohm brandishing a weapon. "I'm surprised that with all the money
(police) put into this, they didn't have any non-lethal means of
resolving this," said Daily, who said he'd known the pair for about
five years and attended several HempAid festivals at the campground.
Daily and others said they weren't sure what would happen to Rainbow
Farm. But he urged those who support forfeiture reform or marijuana
legalization to come to the funerals for Crosslin and Rohm. Funeral
arrangements had not been determined on Tuesday afternoon, Rohm's
Vandalia is about 30 miles northeast of South Bend, Ind., in
southwest Michigan. A historical marker in the town park describes
Vandalia as a one-time junction on the Underground Railroad. Slaves
escaping through Illinois and Indiana were taken in by local Quakers,
who guided the slaves east into Canada.
The campground, at 59896 Pemberton Road in Newberg Township, includes
shower and bathroom facilities, a coffee bar called The Joint and a
hemp-themed gift shop. Each year it hosts two festivals called
HempAid and RoachRoast, according to the Web site
This story was culled from several news accounts available