Friday, July 4, 2008

Rainbow Gathering: Forest Service Incident Management Team Encounters Interference


by Forest Service media release

July 4, 2008
Friday, July 4, 10:51 AM, Media Release from the Rita Vollmer, Intermountain Region Regional Office Public Affairs Specialist for the Forest Service, Office: (801) 625-5153, Cell: (801) 791-2390. Forest Service media release of July 3, 2008 incident at Rainbow Gathering at Dutch Joe/Big Sandy in Wyoming.

Rock Springs, Wyoming (July 4, 2008) — Forest Service officers were patrolling the main meadow area of the National Rainbow Family Gathering yesterday evening. The officers made contact with a subject that would not cooperate and fled. The subject was apprehended; once detained other Rainbow participants began to interfere with the situation.

Officers began to leave the Gathering site with the subject and were circled by more Rainbow participants that began to physically interfere. Another participant was detained for physical interference.

Ten officers were escorting the detained subjects when about 400 Rainbows surrounded the squad trying to leave. More officers were requested to assist in the main meadow area. The mob began to advance, throwing sticks and rocks at the officers. Crowd control tactics were used to keep moving through the group of Rainbows.

"This lawless behavior is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it," Forest Service Director of Law Enforcement, John Twiss, said. "The safety of our employees, public and Rainbow participants is our number one priority and we will continue to protect everyone on the National Forest."

A total of five arrests were made in relation to this incident. One officer suffered minor injuries and was cleared by the local hospital. A government vehicle also incurred damage during the incident.

Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Sublette County, Fremont County, and Sweetwater County Sheriff Offices all responded to the Forest Service officers during the incident.

"The Forest Service Incident Management Team appreciates all of the help and assistance from the agencies coordinating with us during this incident," Incident Commander, Gene Smithson said. "It is important that we continue to work together."

Approximately 7,000 Rainbow participants have congregated in the Big Sandy area.