More Questions Than Answers at Rainbow Farm

  More Questions Than Answers at Rainbow Farm

Posted by FoM on September 10, 2001 at 09:45:44 PT
Source: South Bend Tribune 

Melody Karr stood as a protesting sentry last week near the intersection of Michigan 60 and White Temple Road. She had many questions swirling in her head. And she was angry about them.The 37-year-old Mesick, Mich., resident couldn't figure out why it came to this: Rainbow Farm Campground owner Grover T. "Tom" Crosslin and Rolland "Rollie" Rohm were both dead.
Crosslin, 46, had been fatally shot Monday afternoon by FBI agents, and another Vandalia man, 18-year-old Brandon Peoples, was injured. Rohm, 28, had been fatally shot Tuesday morning by Michigan State Police troopers. In both cases, the men were shot after reportedly pointing loaded .223-caliber Mini-14 semiautomatic rifles in the direction of law-enforcement officers.The deaths came during a five-day standoff that began the Friday before Labor Day about an hour before both men were scheduled for a Cass County Circuit Court bond revocation hearing. They faced illegal drug and firearms charges.Authorities said that Crosslin and Rohm, Rainbow Farm roommates, had violated terms of their bond and an injunction by conducting festivals at the Pemberton Road site.It was part of a pattern of illegal activities at the 59896 Pemberton Road site for years, Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter said. Crosslin, through his farm, Web site and fliers, had long advocated the decriminalization of marijuana use, particularly for medical purposes.More than 100 officers from the FBI, MSP and the Cass County Sheriff's Department ended up being part of the standoff. Ten buildings burned to the ground on the 34-acre Rainbow Farm compound; all that was left was a chicken coop.So Karr wanted others to know her pain, holding aloft a handwritten sign bearing the words "THEY KILLED THEM."Karr said she didn't know how long she and her fellow protesters would continue."I think as long as it takes to get some answers," Karr said.That could take some time.Teter said it would be at least three weeks for all the agencies' reports to come together to review the events of the standoff. He has also asked the Michigan Attorney General's Office to review it, too."No one wanted this to happen," Teter said.But it did. And questions linger."This is a tragedy that was directed by the FBI under their rules of engagement and official protocol that only includes a shoot-to-kill option with a show of lethal force," said Dori Leo, Crosslin and Rohm's Kalamazoo attorney."I knew what would happen to Tom after we talked. Tom was the defiant one. But Rollie was scared," said Leo, a former Cook County, Ill., prosecutor.The resulting tragedy is what kept protesters, friends and some family members on vigil several days last week underneath a canopy on M-60, about three miles from Rainbow Farm.The violent ending was a combination of the custody battle over Rohm's 13-year-old son, Robert, whom Crosslin's family lists as his son, too, in his obituary. Robert had been taken away by Michigan's Family Independence Agency due to the criminal charges and child neglect allegations, authorities said.It was also about other pending criminal and civil court matters, Cass County Sheriff Joseph Underwood and Leo said.Rohm and Crosslin were both facing charges of growing marijuana, maintaining a drug house and various weapons charges, the result of a two-year undercover investigation. If convicted of the charges, both were facing years in prison.On the first day of the standoff, after setting fire to some buildings, it is believed that Crosslin, Rohm, Peoples or a combination of the three fired at a news helicopter from WNDU-TV, Channel 16, South Bend. Because of that shooting, which punctured the helicopter's stabilizer, Crosslin ended up being charged Monday with federal felony charges on aircraft destruction and firearms possession.Crosslin "was angry at the government," said his sister, Shirley DeWeese, of Elkhart.Perhaps he was. But Teter said he carried out his anger the wrong way."You can't ignore the laws you don't agree with," Teter said."It was unarmed murder," said Trena Moss, who knew Crosslin and Rohm and who runs the Hillsdale County chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Teter was out to destroy this place."Teter disputes such notions."We haven't handled this one any differently than any other," he said.But Crosslin and Rohm were never caught selling, so he couldn't charge anyone."We didn't want to raid the festivals," he said of the 3,000-strong gatherings. "We didn't want another Kent State."A quirk in the drug law made it difficult to prosecute because drugs were used and sold outdoors, Teter said."We aren't talking about people smoking a couple of joints, though that's illegal, too," Teter said. "We had no choice but to investigate. There were kids at these festivals. There were fliers advertising them in our high schools."The campground had been among Cass County's best-known landmarks. A state-issued sign pointing the way to the farm was taken down last Tuesday night -- hours after Rohm's death.Crosslin's funeral was Saturday in Elkhart, and Rohm's funeral is Tuesday."Maybe they were justified," Leo said of authorities. "But it's too bad it had to end this way."Tribune staff writers Adam Jackson, Ashley Lowery, Christine Cox, Jim Meenan and Rick Martinez, Knight Ridder Newspapers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.Rainbow Farm Timeline:April 19, 1995 ---- Grover T. "Tom" Crosslin assaults woman with a pipe.Oct. 6, 1995 ---- Crosslin sentenced for felony attempted assault with a dangerous weapon, rendering him ineligible to possess a firearm.Memorial Day 1997 Hempfest -- Cass County prosecutor receives complaints about Rainbow Farm, namely trespassing, littering, noise and property damage.Memorial Day 1998 -- About 3,000 attend Hempfest 1998. Minor complaints received by Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter with police reports of illegal drug use and distribution, but no charges filed.March 1999 ---- Teter warns Crosslin of possible civil forfeiture if problems persist. Crosslin warns of resistance.April 1999 ---- Cass County Administrator Terry Proctor warns of problems regarding county's large-gathering ordinance.May 6, 1999 ---- Complaint for injunctive relief filed for violations of large-gathering ordinance. May 28-31, 1999 ---- More than 3,000 attend Hemp Aid 1999. An undercover police officer with Southwest Enforcement Team observes illegal drug use and sales.Memorial Day weekend 2000 ---- More than 3,000 attend Hemp Aid 2000. SWET undercover officers purchase marijuana, LSD and hashish on the grounds.July 21, 2000 ---- More than 1,000 attend Whee 2000. SWET undercover officers purchase marijuana, LSD, hashish, cocaine and methamphetamines.Summer 2000 ---- Confidential informant becomes employee of Rainbow Farm Campground and reports no withholding from payroll and that he is being paid in cash.Labor Day Weekend 2000 ----4,000 attend Roach Roast. SWET undercover officers buy hashish and psilocybin mushrooms.April 20, 2001 ---- SWET undercover officers purchase marijuana, mushrooms, cocaine, hashish and other drugs during 420 Festival.May 2001 ---- Search warrants issued to search Rainbow Farms for employment and business records. Also, an indoor marijuana-growing operation is discovered and another warrant is obtained for controlled substances and growing equipment, with seizure of marijuana plants and three loaded guns.May 2001 -- Civil lawsuits seek forfeiture of Rainbow Farm due to illegal drug use and nuisance abatement claims.May 9, 2001 ----Crosslin arrested on criminal charges of manufacturing marijuana, felony firearms possession, possession of firearm by a convicted felon, and maintaining a drug house. Rolland Rohm charged with manufacturing marijuana, felony firearm possession and maintaining a drug house. Crosslin released on $150,000 bond; Rohm released on $25,000 bond.May 9, 2001 -- Cass County Circuit Judge Michael Dodge issues temporary restraining order against Rainbow Farm as a public nuisance.May 16, 2001 ----Children's Protective Services files allegations of child neglect against Rohm.May 21, 2001 -- Dodge grants preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order blocking Hemp Fest 2001 at Rainbow Farm on Memorial Day weekend. Dodge later grants expansion of injunction and an order blocking festivals at Rainbow Farm.Aug. 17-Aug. 18, 2001 ----Festival at Rainbow Farm.Aug. 27, 2001 -- Petition filed for contempt of court and injunction violation by Crosslin. Teter files seeking revoking of criminal bond for Crosslin and Rohm.Aug. 31, 2001 ---- 12:15 p.m. EDT, 911 call to report fire at Rainbow Farm Campground. At 1:30 p.m. EDT, when Crosslin and Rohm don't show at their court hearing, Dodge revokes their bonds and issues arrest warrants. Standoff starts. WNDU-TV, Channel 16, South Bend, helicopter fired at and hit, but no one injured.Sept. 3, 2001 -- Crosslin fatally shot by FBI. Brandon Peoples, 18, suffers minor injuries in skirmish.Sept. 4, 2001 -- Rohm fatally shot by Michigan State Police. Source: South Bend Tribune (IN)Author: Adam Jackson, Staff Writer Published: September 09, 2001Copyright: 2001 South Bend TribuneContact: vop sbtinfo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Rainbow Farm Campground Crosslin & Rolland Rohm Memorial Crosslin Memories of Rainbow News Articles - Tom Crosslin

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Comment #1 posted by BirdHeart on September 10, 2001 at 09:59:55 PT

"Sept. 3, 2001 -- Crosslin fatally shot by FBI. Brandon Peoples, 18, suffers minor injuries in skirmish."what the ****!!!!!!!!!!!!!skirmish! the only side that fired any shots was the wrong side. And they injured a UNARMED man by their own words....i don't believe either man had a gun, this was a slaying.they will forever be martyrs in my eyes :(
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