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4/20 shooting: Organizer Miguel Lopez injured, nearly trampled during chaos

miguel lopez 205x205.jpg
Big photos below.
We've been reporting about the shootings at the 4/20 Civic Center Park rally on Saturday, as well as the continuing search for a suspect caught on video.

Watching developments closely is event organizer Miguel Lopez, who's having difficulty getting around the better part of two days since the startling incident.

That's because he was knocked to the ground and nearly trampled during the chaos that followed the gunfire.

Lopez was on stage when lead started flying, and at first, "we didn't know what was going on.... We didn't even hear the gunshots. We just saw smoke and dust come up in the air, and then people just scattered or went to the ground."

420 shooting 10.jpg
Photo by Brandon Marshall
Click for the complete "Shots Fired at 4/20 in Civic Center" slide show.
Before long, Lopez continues, "they broke through three barricades.... So I tried to reach my number two guy, and I was trying to stream across the crowd to call the duty officer when I was pushed to the ground.

"The security crew pulled me out just in time, before the crowd trampled over me."

He's still sore from the incident, and very emotional. "There are a lot of people who are probably going to need some therapy" after what they witnessed, he says, fighting back tears.

Three people were injured in the shooting, with two suffering leg wounds and a third being grazed by a bullet. But the situation could have been a lot worse -- and he believes the reason more people weren't seriously hurt to proper preparation.

"We took out terrorism insurance this year, after we did our planning with the Office of Emergency Management," he notes. "And then, last week, Boston happened" -- a reference to the bombing at the Boston Marathon -- "and my heart just dropped. It was a big eye opener."

Even before the tragic events in Boston, Lopez had already decided to increase security in anticipation of a larger crowd following the passage of Amendment 64. "There were more Denver police officers and more of our own security. Last year, we had just two of our guards on the stage, and we increased that to six. And the security marshals went from fifteen to thirty."

Did more people attend as well? The Denver Police Department leaves crowd estimates to event organizers, and given everything that happened, Lopez admits that he hasn't had a chance to analyze aerial photos and come up with a figure. He thinks as many as 75,000 people may have come and gone throughout the day, while other observers guess that the crowd on hand from 4:20 p.m. to just after 5 p.m., when the shooting took place, was in the 10,000-15,000 range.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Lopez has been happily surprised that the reporting has largely avoided casting blame for what happened on either marijuana or hip-hop -- Lil' Flip was performing when shots were fired. And he feels that's appropriate. He references the City Park Jazz festival shooting of last year, when Officer Celena Hollis was killed in a random shooting; earlier this month, Rollin Oliver pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the incident. "This can happen anywhere," he stresses. "It had nothing to do with the rally. Obviously, it was crazy individuals doing something in the middle of tens of thousands of people.

"If this was gang-related, we have to remind ourselves what actually started gangs in the first place," he goes on. "We've always known that alcohol prohibition created gangs, and marijuana prohibition has done the same thing."

Continue for more of our interview with 4/20 rally organizer Miguel Lopez, including photos and videos from the scene.



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58 comments
JimTom
JimTom

How many tickets did they give out for smoking in public, clearly illegal in A64. Stupid people sure make life harder.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

If you can't beat em', join em' !

Unfortunately, having but a single leg, I'm automatically a 'Crip', ( cripple), but on the bright side, I do own a ton more blue clothing than red . Hopefully my personal distaste for firearms won't be an issue ...

Cup 1/2 full .......

stuka1
stuka1


After the shooting, day two of the festival was canceled "out of respect for the victims," Lopez says. "It wouldn't have been ethical or moral for us to continue these celebrations after what happened to them."

What a crock of shit. Dumbass blew the perfect opportunity to take back the rally from the gangbanger trash who fucked it up.

Oh, except for that nagging little problem of having filled the rally schedule with gangster-trash rap "acts"...

stuka1
stuka1

Lopez: "If this was gang-related, we have to remind ourselves what actually started gangs in the first place," he goes on. "We've always known that alcohol prohibition created gangs, and marijuana prohibition has done the same thing."

Revisionist history much?

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

'Trampling' is the #1 source of death at MJ rallies !

Hip-op only ignites the madness !

If there really were a 'god' & 'bible', SOMETHING would have been written in the 'New Testament' WARNING OF Satan's attack on the world via 'Rap Music' !....

onevoice420
onevoice420

Rap music brings gangsters and thugs its their following. Civic center park is a sketchy place. If its not a homless lady yelling at you for change its a crack head trying to hassle you for bus money. Maybe if Miguel layed off the tacos he could have ran faster and not been pushed down and almost trampled. Hopefully he doesnt get a permit next year and another person gets to put it on

John Anthony Gadd
John Anthony Gadd

hopefully next year he'll think twice before allowing alcohol and booking rap and hip hop artists which consistently attract the wrong crowds

Chris Vann
Chris Vann

Getttin to where you can't even get stoned in the park anymore without a hassle!

Gipke Mikel
Gipke Mikel

Sad to hear; I Hope He Recovers Quickly.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

He deserves it ... for bringing HipHop RapCrap and the lowlife drooling inbred thug crowd it attracts to a premier public exhibition of marijuana users.

Stupid Stoners + Public Politics = Epic Fail!


stuka1
stuka1

@Michelle Pearl Mobley  

Yup. Lie with gangster rapper dogs,  don't complain about the fleas.

JimTom
JimTom

@sucka1 RACIST!!!!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 ... and his specious self-serving excuse in light of the FACT that Denver CANCELLED the PARK PERMIT for Sunday after the clown-show on Saturday.

stuka1
stuka1

@Juan_Leg  

Because the news isn't filled with stories of gangster rap "artists" <gag> killing each other all over the place....

/sarc

Harvey
Harvey

@John Anthony Gadd How did he "allow alcohol"?, because the permit did not include a liquor license.  Or is it the same way City Park Jazz "allows" alcohol, attracting the wrong crowd.  I guess we're left with hip hop attracting the same wrong crowd as jazz fusion.  Would you like to try blaming something else?  How about this:

Public events attract the wrong crowd.  Fucking public.  I wish they'd stay home.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Chris Vann Funny post, Chris. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Gipke Mikel  ... recovers? ... from his lack of musical taste? 

... or his utter myopia at booking VIOLENT RAP CRAP at what was supposed to be an exemplary peaceful pot event?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@David Kotzebue  ... or Karmic 

Harvey
Harvey

@DonkeyHotay Not so fast.  How do you explain the City Park Jazz murder?  Sulfites?

Jimmy
Jimmy

@DonkeyHotay Thanks for taking time out from riding your phallus to chime in with more crap douche bag.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay 

...like they cancelled the City Park Jazz concerts after the policewoman was killed...

 ...oh, wait...

 

stuka1
stuka1

@nemopunk15 

LMAO REVISIONIST history, that is.

shit you make up =/= facts hth

rockiesfan4life
rockiesfan4life

@michael.roberts @onevoice420  Please don't glorify or pacify this jerk, Michael.  I was on-stage security when the shooting happened and people just ran through the stage barricades and all of us almost got trampled and crushed.  I got pushed down and said "gtf off me!". 

I jumped up and ran directly to the area of panic and Isaac and Medi were already there with 3 other security marshals within a minute of it going down.  "OneVoice420", what a joke.  nobody knows who you are.

That should be Miguel's nickname.  We'll call you "NoDice420"

NoDice...  Talking smack about a Mexican eating tacos is just racist, unless you're a friend which you are not.  You obviously don't know Miguel because if you did, you'd know that he would Mow You Down.  Run you over.  Physically.  Also, you're a wuss if you think Civic Center is sketchy.  Are you a man?  No?  Civic Center Park is Beautiful!

Lil Flip - I'm glad we were able to get you on stage on 4-20 with your flight mix-up and everything, UGK, thanks for stopping by!  And all the other artists, especially the locals who had to prove an amount of charity to perform, thanks for for your time and community support, and all of Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. Planet Earth, The Universe, much love!!!!!!!!!!!!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@Harvey You make a strong point, Harvey. Don't remember anyone blaming jazz for the City Park shooting. Thanks for posting.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Harvey... well, since neither A64 nor A20 allow for the Open Public Consumption or Display of Marijuana 

... the entire 420 crowd should have followed their own laws and stayed home!

What do you expect when you stage a gathering of thousands of LAW BREAKING CRIMINALS in a Public Park?

stuka1
stuka1

@Harvey It is and was well-known at the time that in the weeks before the shooting, gangbangers wearing colors were circulating in "shows of force" during the concerts. 

HipTip: Gangbangers = violence

hth

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 ... sucks to be one of the HipHop RapCrap dregs of society, doesn't it?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 "I have better things to do than respond to your inane babblings"

Lie much?

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay Oh, yes, the blessing of a psychotic pathological liar just gives me a warm cuddly feeling.

/sarc

stuka1
stuka1

@nemopunk15  <=== That's called "moving the goalposts".

Gangs have financed themselves with all sort of black market activities -- whatever is available -- but that doesn't mean "marijuana prohibition created gangs", and it is clear that the current gangbangers arose out of racism. 

Correlation =/= causation

shit you make up =/= facts

QED

stuka1
stuka1

@nemopunk15 

In Huntington Park, Bell, and South Gate, towns that were predominately white, teenagers formed some of the early street clubs during the 1940s. One of the most infamous clubs of that time was the Spook Hunters, a group of white teenagers that often attacked black youths. If blacks were seen outside of the black settlement area, which was roughly bounded by Slauson to the South, Alameda Avenue to the east, and Main[5] Street to the west, they were often attacked. The name of this club emphasized their racist attitude towards blacks, as Spook Hunters is a derogatory term used to identify blacks and ?Hunters? highlighted their desire to attack blacks as their method of fighting integration and promoting residential segregation. Their animosity towards blacks was publicly known; the back of their club jackets displayed an animated black face with exaggerated facial features and a noose hanging around the neck. The Spook Hunters would often cross Alameda traveling west to violently attack black youths from the area. In Thrasher’s study of Chicago gangs, he observed a similar white gang in Chicago during the 1920s, the Dirty Dozens, who often attacked black youths with knives, blackjacks, and revolvers because of racial differences (Thrasher 1963:37). Raymond Wright was one of the founders of a black club called the Businessmen, a large East side club based at South Park between Slauson Avenue and Vernon Avenue. He stated that, “you couldn?’t pass Alameda, because those white boys in South Gate would set you on fire,?[6] and fear of attack among black youths was not, surprisingly, common. In 1941, white students at Fremont High School threatened blacks by burning them in effigy and displaying posters saying, ?we want no niggers at this school? (Bunch 1990: 118). There were racial confrontations at Manual Arts High School on Vermont and 42nd Street, and at Adams High School during the 1940s (Davis 1990:293). In 1943, conflicts between blacks and whites occurred at 5th and San Pedro Streets, resulting in a riot on Central Avenue (Bunch 1990:118). white clubs in Inglewood, Gardena, and on the West side engaged in similar acts, but the Spook Hunters were the most violent of all white clubs in Los Angeles.

The black youths in Aliso Village, a housing project in East Los Angeles, started a club called the Devil Hunters in response to the Spook Hunters and other white clubs that were engaging in violent confrontations with blacks. The term “Devil” reflected how blacks viewed racist whites and Ku Klux Klan members. The Devil Hunters and other black residents fought back against white violence with their own form of violence. In 1944, nearly 100 frustrated black youths, who were denied jobs on the city?s streetcar system, attacked a passing streetcar and assaulted several white passengers (Collins 1980: 29). During the late 1940s and early 1950s, other neighborhood clubs emerged to fight the white establishment. Members of the Businessmen and other black clubs had several encounters with the Spook Hunters and other white clubs of the time.

Nope, nuthin' at all about alcohol or drugs.  

@nemopunk15 = History FAIL

stuka1
stuka1

@nemopunk15

Not a single mention of drugs or alcohol in this history of street gangs. LOTS about racism, though.

hth idiot.

 http://www.streetgangs.com/crips/blackstreetgangs

Black Street Gangs in Los Angeles: A History (excerpts from Territoriality Among African American Street Gangs in Los Angeles)

by Alex Alonso

In Los Angeles and other urban areas in the United States, the formation of street gangs increased at an alarming pace throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The Bloods and the Crips, the most well-known gangs of Los Angeles, are predominately African American[1] and they have steadily increased in number since their beginnings in 1969. In addition, there are approximately 600 Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles County with a growing Asian gang population numbering approximately 20,000 members.

Surprisingly, little has been written about the historical background of black gangs in Los Angeles (LA). Literature and firsthand interviews with Los Angeles residents seem to point to three significant periods relevant to the development of the contemporary black gangs. The first period, which followed WWII and significant black migrations from the South, is when the first major black clubs formed. After the Watts rebellion of 1965, the second period gave way to the civil rights period of Los Angeles where blacks, including those who where former club members who became politically active for the remainder of the 1960s. By the early 1970s black street gangs began to reemerge. By 1972, the Crips were firmly established and the Bloods were beginning to organize. This period saw the rise of LA?s newest gangs, which continued to grow during the 1970s, and later formed in several other cities throughout the United States by the 1990s. While black gangs do not make up the largest or most active gang population in Los Angeles today, their influence on street gang culture nationally has been profound.

In order to better understand the rise of these groups, I went into the original neighborhoods to document the history which led to these groups. There are 88 incorporated cities and dozens of other unincorporated places in Los Angeles County (LAC). In the process of conducting this research, I visited all of these places in an attempt to not just identify gangs active in Los Angeles, but to determine their territories. Through several weeks of field work and research conducted in 1996, I identified 274 black gangs in 17 cities and four unincorporated areas in LAC.


Post WWII to 1965

The first major period of black gangs in Los Angeles began in the late 1940s and ended in 1965. There were black gangs in Los Angeles prior to this period, but they were small in numbers; little is known about the activity of these groups. Some of the black groups that existed in Los Angeles in the late 1920s and 1930s were the Boozies, Goodlows, Blogettes, Kelleys, and the Driver Brothers. Most of these groups were family oriented, and they referred to themselves as clubs.[2] Max Bond (1936:270) wrote briefly about a black gang of 15-year-old kids from the Central Avenue area that mostly stole automobile accessories and bicycles. It was not until the late 1940s that the first major black clubs surfaced on the East side[3] of Los Angeles near Jefferson High School in the Central Avenue area. This was the original settlement area of blacks in Los Angeles. South of 92nd Street in Watts and in the Jefferson Park/West Adams area on the West side, there were significant black populations. By 1960 several black clubs were operating on the West side[4] of Los Angeles, an area that had previously restricted black residents during the 1940s.

Several of the first black clubs to emerge in the late 1940s and early 1950s formed initially as a defensive reaction to combat much of the white violence that had been plaguing the black community for several years. In the surrounding communities of the original black ghetto of Central Avenue and Watts, and in the cities of Huntington Park and South Gate, white Angelenos were developing a dissatisfaction for the growing black population that was migrating from the South during WWII. During the 1940s, resentment from the white community grew as several blacks challenged the legal housing discrimination laws that prevented them from purchasing property outside the original settlement neighborhoods and integrate into the public schools. Areas outside of the original black settlement of Los Angeles were neighborhoods covered by legally enforced, racially restrictive covenants or deed restrictions. This practice, adapted by white homeowners, was established in 1922 and was designed to maintain social and racial homogeneity of neighborhoods by denying non-whites access to property ownership.

By the 1940s, such exclusionary practices made much of Los Angeles off-limits to most minorities (Bond 1936; Davis 1990:161,273; Dymski and Veitch 1996:40). This process contributed to increasing homogeneity of communities in Los Angeles, further exacerbating racial conflict between whites and blacks, as the latter existed in mostly segregated communities. From 1940 to 1944, there was over a 100 percent increase in the black population of Los Angeles, and ethnic and racial paranoia began to develop among white residents. Chronic overcrowding was taking a toll, and housing congestion became a serious problem, as blacks were forced to live in substandard housing (Collins 1980:26). From 1945-1948, black residents continually challenged restrictive covenants in several court cases in an effort to move out of the dense, overcrowded black community. These attempts resulted in violent clashes between whites and blacks (Collins 1980:30). The Ku Klux Klan resurfaced during the 1940s, 20 years after their presence faded during the late 1920s (Adler 1977; Collins 1980), and white youths were forming street clubs to battle integration of the community and schools of black residents.

...

stuka1
stuka1

 @nemopunk15"Either you don't understand what your [sic] saying or you don't know your history"

http://www.ojjdp.gov/jjbulletin/9808/history.html

 Youth gangs may have first appeared in Europe (Klein, 1996) or Mexico (Redfield, 1941; Rubel, 1965). No one is sure when or why they emerged in the United States. The earliest record of their appearance in the United States may have been as early as 1783, as the American Revolution ended (Sante, 1991; Sheldon, 1898). They may have emerged spontaneously from adolescent play groups or as a collective response to urban conditions in this country (Thrasher, 1927). Some suggest they first emerged following the Mexican migration to the Southwest after the Mexican Revolution in 1813 (Redfield, 1941; Rubel, 1965). They may have grown out of difficulties Mexican youth encountered with social and cultural adjustment to the American way of life under extremely poor conditions in the Southwest (Moore, 1978; Vigil, 1988). Gangs appear to have spread in New England in the early 1800's as the Industrial Revolution gained momentum in the first large cities in the United States: New York, Boston, and Philadelphia (Finestone, 1976; Sante, 1991; Spergel, 1995). 

Gangs had been around over a CENTURY before either alcohol or marijuana prohibition.


Again: shit you make up =/= facts hth


stuka1
stuka1

@nemopunk15  

Too bad for you that you can't see anything beyond the confines of your narrow box. 

Your opinions =/= facts hth

nemopunk15
nemopunk15 topcommenter

Either you don't understand what your saying or you don't know your history. either way. better luck next time.

Harvey
Harvey

@michael.roberts @Harvey Three days after the City Park Jazz killing the Mayor's office issued a press release condemning the violence and encouraging attendence at the next week's performance.  Why no press release this time condemning the violence and encouraging attendance at all outdoor festivals.  Double standard?  I thought "We are All Denver"?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

puka1 "A64 has huge problems."

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay 

Was there some sort of point you were trying (and FAILING miserably) to make with your puerile use of irrelevant copypasta? 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

stuka1 "A64 has huge problems."

stuka1 "ANYTHING is illegal under 21 with A64 for rec purposes"

stuka1 "DISPLAYING AND POSSESSING over an oz is illegal."

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay <=== pathetic prohibitinist whiner, still crying over A64's victory over prohibition, half a year later.

JimTom
JimTom

@sucka1 RACIST!!!!!

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