[sixties-l] Rainbow Farm Deaths Defended (2 stories) (fwd)

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Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 17:36:18 EST

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    Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 12:38:28 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Rainbow Farm Deaths Defended (2 stories)

        Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 12:02:02 +0000
        From: Peter Webster <vignes@monaco.mc>
    Subject: Rainbow Farm Deaths Defended

    2 stories

    Pubdate: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
    Source: South Bend Tribune (IN)
    Copyright: 2002 South Bend Tribune
    Contact: vop@sbtinfo.com
    Website: http://www.southbendtribune.com/
    Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/621
    Author: Adam Jackson,Tribune Staff Writer


    Teter Clears Officials Of Blame In Rainbow Farm Standoff

    The late Grover "Tom" Crosslin and Rolland Rohm have no one to blame but
    themselves, Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter said Monday.

    By flouting a Cass County Circuit Court order and holding a festival at
    their Rainbow Farm campground near Vandalia, the men set a chain of events
    into motion that would end in the Sept. 3 and Sept. 4 deaths of both, Teter

    In a news conference held in the Cass County Courthouse on Monday, Teter
    announced that he was closing his criminal investigation into the five-day
    Labor Day weekend standoff at Rainbow Farm Campground, 59896 Pemberton Road.

    Teter said his investigation showed conclusively that the deaths of both
    men at the hands of law-enforcement sharpshooters were justifiable
    homicides under Michigan law.

    "I have no sympathy for" Rohm or Crosslin, Teter said. "None of the
    officers who fired on them did so without justification."

    Standing at a podium at the Cass County Courthouse's Kincheloe Room on
    Monday in front of a room packed with reporters and cameras, he proceeded
    to lay out in detail the events up to, during, and following the Sept. 3
    killing of Crosslin, 46, and the Sept. 4 death of Rohm, 28.

    It all started, Teter said, when the men elected to hold a festival at the
    campground Aug. 17 and 18, violating a temporary injunction against holding
    events at the campground ordered by Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael
    E. Dodge.

    Because of that violation, and because undercover officers at the festival
    had allegedly viewed Crosslin and Rohm using drugs, Teter filed for an
    order to show cause and a motion to revoke the $150,000 bond on felony drug
    charges filed against the men after a search warrant allegedly turned up a
    marijuana growing operation at a historic home owned by Crosslin along
    Michigan 60 west of Vandalia.

    The hearing on the show cause order and the motion to revoke bond were
    slated to be heard on Aug. 31 at 1:30 p.m. EDT in Cass County Circuit Court.

    But Crosslin and Rohm never showed. Instead, around noon that day, an
    anonymous call came in to the Cass County Sheriff's Department that there
    was a fire at the campground.

    "Shortly after that, we received a call informing us that the fire was a
    trick to get firemen to come to the property so they could be ambushed,"
    Teter said. "The caller said Crosslin was patrolling his property in full
    camouflage, carrying a rifle."

    Then, around 1:30 p.m., people on the ground within the campground
    allegedly began to fire weapons at aircraft flying over the area. When a
    bullet passed through the tail of a helicopter owned by WNDU-TV, Channel
    16, South Bend, authorities decided to call in the Federal Bureau of

    "Shooting at an aircraft is a federal offense punishable by up to 20 years
    in prison," Teter said. "We knew that these men were armed, and that they
    were not coming out."

    With Crosslin and Rohm hiding in the private house at the front of the
    property along Pemberton Road, FBI agents and Michigan State Police
    troopers set up positions around the perimeter of the campground to
    "protect the public safety," Teter said. Cass County Sheriff's deputies
    blocked nearby roads to keep away curious onlookers.

    Forgotten coffeepot

    It was FBI agents in these posts who first spotted Crosslin on Sept. 3,
    when he left the house accompanied by 18-year-old Brandon Peoples, an
    acquaintance who managed to sneak onto the campground property and join
    Crosslin and Rohm.

    Crosslin and Peoples headed up a trail to the home of a nearby neighbor to
    steal food and a coffeemaker, and were allowed to pass within a few feet of
    three hidden FBI snipers despite Crosslin reportedly being armed with a
    Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle.

    "Unfortunately, they forgot to get the pot that goes with the coffeemaker,"
    Teter said.

    So, at around 5:30 p.m., Crosslin and Peoples headed back up the trail to
    get the coffeepot. This time, Teter said, Crosslin spotted an FBI special
    agent with the last name Salomon, (no first name was available from Cass
    County or federal authorities Monday) and reportedly raised the rifle to
    his shoulder to fire.

    But Salomon and another agent, identified as an FBI special agent with the
    last name of Heffron, fired first.

    "Salomon and Heffron fired at the same time," Teter said. "Salomon's bullet
    went through the left side of Crosslin's head, killing him instantly."

    Heffron's bullet, however, went through a small tree and shattered into
    multiple pieces causing small wounds to Crosslin's right side

    A desperate flight

    After receiving news of Crosslin's death, Rohm began negotiating with
    police. Rohm agreed to surrender on one condition: That he be allowed to
    speak with his estranged 12-year-old son, Robert.

    Arrangements were made to bring the boy to the police command center at the
    old Bivouac recreational vehicle factory along Michigan 60, where he would
    speak with his father at 7 a.m. Sept. 4.

    But shortly after 6 a.m., a fire flared up at the house where Rohm was hiding.

    He reportedly ran out of the back of the home after the blaze started,
    armed with another Ruger Mini-14 and dressed in camouflage.

    To prevent his escape, Teter said an eight-wheeled light armored vehicle
    (LAV) borrowed from the Michigan National Guard was positioned along the
    front of the property, with 10 men inside.

    "When the (LAV) came around the front of the house, Rohm raised his rifle
    up at it," Teter said. "A sniper observed this and fired a shot at him,
    with the bullet passing through the stock of (Rohm's) rifle and hitting him."

    Michigan State Police Troopers Daniel Lubelan and John Julin, who are part
    of the agency's statewide Emergency Services Team, fired a total of 10
    shots at Rohm, who died on the spot.

    An autopsy conducted by Dr. Stephen Cohle of Spectrum Health in Grand
    Rapids showed that the killing shot had passed through his shoulder and
    throat. Another bullet entered his right thigh and exited through his belly.

    Justifiable killing

    After a painstaking recollection of the events during the standoff, Teter
    said that the shootings of both men fell under the category of justifiable
    homicide. Crosslin's death was a case of self-defense and Rohm's death
    falling under the category of the Michigan "defense of others'" law, Teter

    Both laws require the shooter to follow three rules.

    First, there must be an honest and reasonable belief that a life is
    endangered. Second, the threatening person may not be killed if there is
    only a threat of minor injury to the victim. Third, the shooter must
    believe the shooting is reasonably necessary to avoid the killing of an
    innocent person.

    "In Crosslin's case, it came down to a question of 'do you shoot him or do
    you die?'," Teter said. "Under Michigan law, both of these shootings were
    justifiable homicide."

    But nearly everybody wishes it had never come to this.

    Lt. Mike Risko, public information officer with the Michigan State Police
    5th District headquarters in Paw Paw, Mich., said that MSP personnel
    involved in the standoff acted responsibly, but it was a peaceful
    resolution that everyone had been hoping for.

    "We didn't want it to come out that way. The hope going in was, what a lot
    of people say in anger, they won't actually do," he said. "What we were
    hoping for, that they'd calm down and think better of it, didn't happen"

    FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney of the Detroit field office declined Monday
    to comment on the case or on the agents involved. She said that the
    internal investigation into the shooting of Crosslin is "ongoing."

    Rainbow Farm Postscript:

    After the smoke from the Rainbow Farm campground five-day standoff over
    Labor Day weekend had cleared, authorities set about the task of cleaning
    up the mess. While searching the interior of a house owned by late Rainbow
    Farm owner Grover "Tom" Crosslin, 46, along Michigan 60 west of Vandalia,
    authorities came across an unsigned letter that may have provided some
    insight into possible reasons for the bloodshed.

    Here is the letter in its entirety:

    The time has past (sic) for a peaceful solution to this nation's drug war.
    Our government has destroyed our families.

    The action we must take now is not what we wanted. We would have prefered
    (sic) a peaceful end to the drug war, but it was denid (sic) so theay (sic)
    must live with the consaquinses (sic).

    No longer are we talking peace. The government must be stopped.

    (Cass County Prosecutor) Scott Teter knew what was coming, the same with
    the "rubber stamp" (Cass County Circuit Court) Judge (Michael E.) Dodge.

    Our police no longer serve and protect us. We need (to be) protected from
    peopel (sic) we hire to protect us.

    This (expletive) is over. "Let the battel (sic) begin." Live with it.

    Tribune Staff Writers Lou Mumford and Ashley Lowery contributed to this report.

    Pubdate: Tue, 08 Jan 2002
    Source: Kalamazoo Gazette (MI)
    Copyright: 2002 Kalamazoo Gazette
    Contact: letters@kalamazoogazette.com
    Website: http://kz.mlive.com/
    Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/588
    Author: Cedric Ricks


    Police were hesitant to leave an angry Grover "Tom" Crosslin after
    receiving a report that the Vandalia man was threatening to fire a gun at
    anyone who ventured down a road leading to his property.

    They feared that Crosslin, who already had fired on a news helicopter as it
    flew over his Rainbow Farms campground in Vandalia, might hit innocent
    bystanders, Cass County Prosecutor Scott Teter said at a news conference

    "Had we pulled out and some unknown person or innocent person drove down
    that road, we have no reason to believe after firing on a helicopter he
    wouldn't fire on somebody else," Teter said. "So we were there for the

    The situation led to a five-day standoff last Aug. 31 through Sept. 4
    between law enforcement officers and Crosslin, 46, and his companion,
    Rolland Rohm, 28.Authorities believe the standoff was sparked by Crosslin's
    anger over an upcoming bond revocation court hearing. The standoff ended
    after an FBI agent shot Crosslin and Michigan State Police shot Rohm,
    killing them both.

    Teeter announced at Monday's news conference that after finishing a
    three-month investigation, he has concluded that the shootings were
    "justifiable homicides" because of the danger the two men posed to law
    enforcement officers.

    The prosecutor said an FBI agent acted in a defensive mode by firing only
    after Crosslin raised a fully loaded semi-automatic assault rifle and
    pointed it at him from a distance of only 22 feet.Crosslin was shot on
    Sept. 3. Law enforcement officials had been at the site since Aug. 31 after
    neighbors said Crosslin was burning buildings on his property.

    "Given the FBI deadly force policy, which is consistent with Michigan law,
    that the shooter have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm and
    that that fear be imminent, and that the attacker have the present capacity
    to inflict the same, the agent's actions were clearly justified," Teter
    said in a report released Monday.

    He said a second FBI agent who fired simultaneously with the first on
    Crosslin acted properly as well. He said no charges would be filed against
    either agent.

    Teter also said the actions of authorities were justified during the Sept.
    4 fatal shooting of Rohm, who lived with Crosslin at Rainbow Farms.

    He said law enforcement officials were trying to negotiate Rohm's surrender
    after Crosslin's death. Rohm allegedly agreed to surrender to police on the
    morning of Sept. 4 so he could see his 12-year-old son.

    But shortly after 6 a.m., authorities observed a fire at the home where
    Rohm was holed up. The man came out shortly after with a fully loaded
    automatic rifle, Teter said.

    Police had moved a light armored vehicle to the scene to block an escape path.

    "He was dressed in full camouflage with black face paint, and his actions
    were clearly observed by (Michigan State Police) from their observation
    post," Teter said in the report.

    "He ignored repeated instructions to surrender and drop his weapon. He had
    already fired at police personnel," Teter said. "As Rolland Rohm tracked
    the light armored vehicle movement through the smoke of the burning
    residence with his rifle, it was clearly apparent that his intention was to
    open fire on the vehicle when it cleared the smoke, making it visible to him."

    Law enforcement officials in the front of the light armored vehicle, with
    their heads and torsos outside of the protective armor, were vulnerable to
    Rohm's weapon, Teter said.

    Two Michigan State Police officers opened fire on Rohm.

    "By firing their weapons to stop the threat presented by Rolland Rohm, they
    succeeded in preventing the injury or death of the officers operating the
    light armored vehicle," Teter said in the report.

    He called the actions of the two state troopers justified and said no
    charges would be filed against them.

    Members of Crosslin's family declined to comment on the prosecutor's
    findings. An attorney for the family said he would not comment until fully
    reviewing the prosecutor's report.

    Rohm's family is not from Michigan and it was not represented at the press

    Teter said the U.S. Department of Justice conducted its own investigation
    into whether Crosslin's civil rights had been violated because he was shot
    by an FBI agent and found there was no violation.

    A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined to comment. FBI
    officials in Detroit said their internal review of the Rainbow Farms
    standoff is still pending.

    Friends and supporters of Crosslin and Rohm have criticized law enforcement
    officials for the men's deaths.

    "He says its justifiable homicide, but that's a bunch of bull," said Nikki
    Lester, a friend of the two men and a former employee at Rainbow Farms.

    "It's downright murder," she said Monday after listening to Teter's

    Other friends of Crosslin and Rohm met Monday at a local restaurant, Bonnie
    and Clyde's in Cassopolis, to protest the men's deaths. Some said the two
    men were targeted because of their support of marijuana use.

    Authorities had been investigating suspected drug operations at Rainbow
    Farms for the past two years. The campground has supported "the medical,
    spiritual and responsible recreational use of marijuana," according to the
    camp's Web site.

    Both Crosslin and Rohm were facing drug charges.

    "I think the war on drugs gives legitimacy to persecution," Trena Moss, a
    friend of Crosslin and Rohm and a supporter of legalizing marijuana, said
    at the restaurant. "As soon as you say drugs, it's like they can take
    people's property, children and their lives.

    "Tom was a good guy," she said. "He had a very big heart. He helped
    everyone. People would come with their hand out and he would help.

    "But when he got in trouble, all those people disappeared," Moss said. "He
    absolutely would not stand for violence. If they are telling me he pointed
    a gun at law enforcement officials, I don't believe it.

    "What would it have hurt to wait until they got hungry and came out for
    food?" Moss said. "Tom and Rolland were easy prey."

    Moss was joined at Bonnie and Clyde's restaurant by Bill McMaster of
    Taxpayers United Inc.

    McMaster criticized the use of deadly force against Crosslin and Rohm,
    saying the government was out to get Crosslin because of a tax dispute.

    "It was not the marijuana, it was (because) they were supposedly not paying
    their taxes," McMaster said.

    Teter said in the report that state police, his office, the Cass County
    Sheriff's Department, the Michigan attorney general's office and the state
    treasurer's office executed a search warrant of the Rainbow Farms
    Campground in May to show that Crosslin and Rohm were not withholding taxes
    from employees' wages and were not filing proper tax returns.

    He sought to have the campground declared a public nuisance and to get a
    one-year injunction to close it and to initiate a civil forfeiture of real
    property because of ongoing violations of the controlled-substance act.

    Teter said that during a search of the site, authorities found an indoor
    hydroponic marijuana-growing operation. Three hundred plants were growing
    in the basement of the residence at the campground. Several loaded firearms
    were found in the residence, he said.

    Teter noted that undercover police also learned that a large supply of
    drugs was available at Rainbow Farms during festivals and other events. He
    said the belief that Crosslin and Rohm were just promoting marijuana use
    was false.Police also found that cocaine, prescription drugs, pain killers,
    methamphetamine, opium and other controlled substances were available at
    Rainbow Farms, the prosecutor said.

    "They bought every drug available on the street with the exception of
    heroin," Teter said.

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