May 21, 1996, Page 1A
Organizer: 'I ain't gonna let 'em stop Hemp Fest'
But he says it will move
By Jeff Ewolt
Despite the disturbance that landed him in jail and led
to 30 other arrests, the Rock Island man who organized last weekend's Hemp Fest at Credit
Island Park says he has no plans to discontinue the semiannual event and will move it to
private property next time.
"I ain't gonna let 'em stop Hemp Past," Robert Moldenhauer said Monday.
Moldenhauer, 41, faces numerous charges, including criminal trespassing and marijuana possession, in the wake of the melee that broke out when police and fest-goers clashed Saturday afternoon. The event, promoted last week with fliers that included a hand-drawn map directing participants to Davenport's Credit Island, attracted as many as 400 people from across the Midwest. Davenport police said.
Moldenhauer does not dispute police reports that list him as the event's organizer. He said he reserved a park shelter by paying $20, and then paid a $150 damage deposit at the request of the city of Davenport's legal department.
During the past six years, he has arranged numerous other Hemp Fests in the Quad-Cities, he said. Some of the twice-a-year events have resulted in disturbances not unlike the one Saturday.
But instead of bouncing around from one city park to another and being "hassled" by police, Moldenhauer says he intends to move future Hemp Fests to private property. If police try to intervene, they will be trespassing, he warned.
"And we'll deal with trespassers the way trespassers should be dealt with," he said, declining to elaborate.
He denied that the purpose of Saturday's event was to promote illegal drug use, even though the fliers intercepted last week by police suggested otherwise. The leaflets advised participants to "remember to bring a bud," a reference to marijuana cigarettes.
Moldenhauer argues the fests are designed only to promote the benefits of hemp -- the plant from which marijuana is derived and to educate people about the government. He said police quashed Saturday's fest, not because of its hemp theme, but because they wanted to censor his views.
"They intended to shut it down primarily to silence me," he said.
"The government doesn't like to hear what I have to say because it exposes them as extortionists."
Police, who had a command center set up across the street from the park, said they were there only to monitor the situation and enforce the law.
They moved in after observing four people share a marijuana cigarette.
The problems began when the crowd lashed out against the arresting officers.
Some fest-goers formed a circle around officers, yelled obscenities and threw bottles at them.
One officer suffered a broken leg while trying to restrain one of the participants.
The 36-year-old officer was recovering Monday at a Davenport hospital after he underwent surgery Saturday afternoon.
|Here is a list of people who face the most serious charges filed in the wake of the hemp Fest disturbance:
|* Ian G. Delevere, 19, of 1505 28th St., Rock Island. Criminal trespass, possession of alcohol under the legal age; accused of failing to leave after the park was closed,
|* Andrew Kindhart, 20, of 16406 Route 84 North, East Moline. Unlawful assembly and failure to disperse, accused of throwing bottles at police and refusing to leave.
|* Joseph Laughead, 27, of 124 North St., Muscatine, Iowa. Inciting a riot, interference; accused of using a microphone to tell crowd that police should not be allowed to make arrests.
|* Robert Moldenhauer, 43, of 2800 8 1/2 Ave., Rock Island. Criminal trespass, interference, marijuana possession and pos- session of drug paraphernalia; accused of returning to the park after being told to leave and trying to pass out leaflets to police.
|* Anthony Polito, 18, of 1413 5th Ave., Moline. Disorderly conduct, marijuana pos- session and possession of drug paraphernalia; accused of throwing a bottle at police.
|* Christopher Rice, 28, of 1614 15th St., Rock Island. Assault with injury to a police officer, inciting a riot and aggravated interference; accused of using the microphone to tell the crowd to take a stand against police, punching an officer in the chest, trying to hit another officer, whose leg was broken in the scuffle.
|* James Webb, 21, of 550 Island Ave., East Moline. Assaulting a police officer and serious interference; accused of interfering with arrests and resisting arrest when officers tried to restrain him.
|* Michael D. Winterlin, 21, of 3665 Sunny Hill Drive, Bettendorf. Assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct and interference with official acts; accused of yelling obscenities while waving fists, spitting in an officer's face, punching an officer in the chest and trying to take away his nightstick.