Denver 4/20 rally 2014 preview: Peaceful message -- and pot-smoking citations?
The 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park has been a Denver tradition since 1993. But the 2013 edition was cut short after a shooting that remains unsolved. And so, too, does the murder of 4/20 rally founder Ken Gorman, slain seven years ago today.
Photos and more below.
Current rally organizer Miguel Lopez underscores these points in a preview of the 2014 rally, which is likely to look different from its predecessors -- and may include citations for public pot smoking. Photos and more details below.
Our 2010 feature article about Ken Gorman describes the incident that led to his death like so:
Ken Gorman, center, in 1994 -- a year after he founded the 4/20 rally.
When Ken Gorman heard the intruders burst through the front door, he sprang from his room and ran through the hallway toward the sounds of shuffling feet. He'd been robbed dozens of times before, always around the harvest, but that night he was equipped to fight back. Just a few days earlier, he'd told friends and family he would be ready for the next thief who tried to get away with his cache of high-grade marijuana, which he grew in his back-room nursery and sold to more than a hundred "patients."As Lopez points out in his 2014 rally update, seen below in its entirety, the gunmen left cash and marijuana behind after the shooting. In his words, "It is the explicit desire of the Denver 420 Rally to remind the marijuana community of the history of one of its founders. The Denver 420 Rally also strives to keep his memory alive and see his murderers brought to justice."
But the sixty-year-old Gorman never reached his brand-new shotgun. The burglars beat him to the draw.
Gorman fell as the bullet ripped through his flesh and into his heart -- one clean, fatal shot -- leaving his tall, slender body sprawled in the living room of his Athmar Park duplex. Minutes later, a neighbor found Gorman's lifeless body and called police.
Despite Gorman's slaying, Lopez argues that his legacy survives, with the 4/20 rally being perhaps the most prominent example. During the early years of the event, attendees tended to number in the hundreds. But over time, thousands more joined them, inspiring the gathering to expand to multiple days. But last year, the Sunday, April 21 portion of the celebration was canceled after gunfire pierced the peaceful atmosphere the previous day.
At around 5 p.m. on April 20, 2013, as we've reported, shots rang out in the park during a performance by hip-hop act Lil' Flip, causing the enormous throng to scatter. In the end, three people were wounded: Two were hit in the leg, while a third person was grazed by a bullet.
Photo by Brandon Marshall In the aftermath of the April 20, 2013 shooting.
In the hours afterward, a person of interest was identified and photos were circulated. But this suspect was subsequently cleared, and to this date, no one has been charged in the shooting.
Lopez equates the unresolved nature of these events, suggesting that they epitomize the "level of priority" paid to crimes that victimize members of the marijuana community -- and "to add insult to injury, cops this year plan to write citations in spite of the $11,000 that the Denver 420 Rally paid for the permit. They don't write citations for The Taste of Denver, which also draws a wealthier crowd."
Continue for more about this year's 4/20 rally, including the complete release.