Rainbows stage protest before leaving Dahlonega


DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Thousands of “Rainbows” left Lumpkin County over the weekend but not before staging a protest against what they believe was harassment by federal, state and local law enforcement.

Some 70-80 protesters who participated in the Family of Living Light gathering in the Chattahoochee National Forest lined the sidewalk across from the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office Sunday, singing songs and carrying protest signs demanding their fellow “Rainbows” be released from jail.

Local activist Frank Gilkeson, who joined the protest, said, “They’re protesting the fact that the local sheriff has incarcerated a whole bunch of people for a various assortment of crimes. We don’t know when these cases will come up and these people live all over the country. Their cases need to be expedited.”

Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard said releasing those in jail is as simple as paying the bond.

Steven Gilley, of Anniston Alabama, complained that he had been stopped multiple times by the authorities who searched his car for drugs.

“The first time, the Forest Service and state police stopped me for over two hours and had a dog running around searching my vehicle,” he said. “I told them there ain’t no drugs. They took everything out of my van and left it piled up on the road. They took my pipe and an open liquor bottle I had from New Orleans and gave me a citation on Friday. I forgot it was there. If I knew it was there, I’d have drunk it.”

Gilley said he paid his fine last Monday and, as he was leaving court, he was ticketed for an expired tag and no insurance.

The U.S. Forest Service estimates approximately 4,500 Rainbow Family members attended the gathering this year. Spokeswoman Cathy Dowd told WSB TV that overall things went well this year, although 30 people were arrested and approximately 900 citations were issued during the event.

The Rainbow Family began gathering in 1972. The movement is reminiscent of the counterculture, hippie movement sparked by protests of the Viet Nam war. It is billed as a peaceful gathering, but twice in the last three years, violence has ended in death to a participant.

In March 2015, a gathering in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida ended in gunfire when 39-year-old Clark Mayers of Milledgeville shot 24-year-old Wesley Jones three times. Jones survived the shooting but was paralyzed and when Jacob Cardwell of Arizona attempted to calm Mayers, he was shot twice and killed.

On Saturday, Elizabethtown (Kentucky) Police Department arrested Joseph Bryan Capstraw who admitted to murdering an unidentified woman after the two left the Rainbow Family gathering hitchhiking to Kentucky.



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  1. Eve Merrick July 9, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    What a biased article Bill.
    How exactly does something that happened outside of the Gathering, states away even, equal the death of a participant? Capstraw killed his domestic partner, whom he had traveled to the Gathering WITH, after and far away from the Rainbow Gathering. Painting it as though that somehow makes the event non-peaceful is extremely poor reporting.

    Rainbow Gatherings are open to anyone (born with a bellybutton 😉 – the focus is on peace, prayer, & building community. What people do when they leave, or the rare psycho who comes there to prey on peaceful people, should not be a reflection of the entire Gathering collectively.

    Imagine if we took one travesty that occurred in your town and attempted to negatively label everyone that lives there based on one person’s actions.

    • Bill Johnson July 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you for reading Fetch Your News. Where the person was murdered is irrelevant to the fact that she was a participant. Both the suspect and victim attended the event. Therefore, they were participants.

    • Allan Reaves July 9, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      Eve’s comments are right on. This is a horribly biased article focusing on isolated negative events to paint a grim picture of the Rainbow Gathering, perhaps in an attempt to justify all the police harassment. The gathering in Florida wasn’t a national Rainbow Gathering. The Rainbow Gathering is a disorganization of nonmembers. Just because someone called some other gathering a “rainbow gathering” doesn’t make it one, and just because someone who participated in the gathering did a bad thing need not give the event a bad name. Many wonderful things happen at these gatherings, but instead, you only report on crime that you choose to associate with it. You should change the name of your site to “Fetch someone’s opinion.”

      • rose July 11, 2018 at 1:16 am

        they may have both participated in the gathering but both were autonomous individuals who are unaffiliated with any category or group. I personally met “shaggy” in Asheville NC a week before the gathering. he was alone and seemingly fairly new to the road.

  2. angela hatch July 9, 2018 at 4:58 pm


    FREEDOM FIGHTERS ALWAYS ARE Harassed ♥ VERMONT my last gathering 500.00 fine for destroying a butterfly home,

    Warrior of truth, a veterans voice of liberty, WE LOVE RAINBOWS < ♥

    • Bill Johnson July 9, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      Thank you for reading Fetch Your News.

  3. HomeyG July 9, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    What a bunch of dumbasses.

  4. Shula July 10, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Unfortunately a lot of these family members in Lumpkin county jail cannot pay the bail. They want the full amount if you live outside of Georgia. Not one bondsman will help. It’s crazy! The bail amounts are extremely high as well. Don’t let the sheriff fool you into thinking it’s just that easy to bail out by simply paying your bond fee. They need to expedite the process. I dont know anyone who’s ever been locked up for minor traffic misdemeanors with a bond of $2,000 or waiting 4/6 months for court it’s unjust & insane Georgia is messed up .

    • rose July 11, 2018 at 1:19 am

      yes I totally agree. there is a good amount of injustice going on. my friend has been incarcerated on a suspended licence charge for the last two weeks with no hearing trial

      • Bill Johnson July 11, 2018 at 7:58 am

        Thank you for reading Fetch Your news and commenting.

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