Quad Cities Hemp Coalition Post Office Box 3592 Rock Island, Illinois 61201 June 26, 1996
by Chris Rice
Saturday, May 16th, 1996 couldn't have been a more
beautiful day for the Quad Cities Hemp Coalition's twelth semiannual Hempfest being held
on Credit Island on the Mississippi River in Davenpot, Iowa. It soon became apparent that
this fest wasn't going to be as groovy as the others. A heavy police presence greeted
Hempsters, and police "Amnesty Barrels" decorated the entrance to the island.
Only an hour into the event, which started at High Noon, the police moved into the center
of the crowd and attempted to search a woman's purse who had been seen smoking some kind
of "hand rolled cigarette." Members of the crowd informed the woman, who was not
under arrest at the time, that she did not have to consent to a search. The officer tugged
on the purse while pursuading the woman to give it up.
Suddenly, police decended on the crowd from their temporary island command post, slamming fest participants to the ground and spraying capstun on the crowd indiscriminately. Thirty-three were arrested and hundreds were cleared from the island. A police officer's leg was broken when another officer fell on him. Chris Rice, a fest organizer, was charged with breaking the officer's leg even though he was faced down on the ground and handcuffed at the time. Local news broadcasts showed a woman looking for her baby being sprayed in the face repeatedly with capstun. Davenport police chief Steve Lynn (business phone # 319-326-7778) was present for the entire event.
A demonstration in response to this event is planned for Saturday, July 27th, 1996 at the Scott County Courthouse, 416 West 4th Street, Davenport, Iowa. The police are saying that Hempfest is closed down for good and we need to show them otherwise. Call Chris Rice (309) 794-9107 for info.