Iowa Theatre

124 S. Dubuque Street,
Iowa City, IA 52240

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kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 26, 2009 at 3:10 am

Everybody must get stoned. From the Iowa City Press-Citizen in March 1971:

Charges “quite possibly” will be filed in connection with a fracas that broke out after officers halted a movie at the Iowa Theater here Friday afternoon. The scuffle resulted as police tried to drag a member of the audience, Donald Pugsley, 23, out of the theater after officers ordered movie patrons out of the building, searched them and readmitted them. The policemen were responding to a report that members of the audience were smoking marijuana during the Rolling Stones movie “Gimme Shelter.” Pugsley said that after the audience was readmitted, an officer told the young people they would be permitted to stay for the rest of the movie, “except that loudmouth.”

Pngsley said the officers “grabbed me and dragged me up the aisle, kicking me all the way.” “I’ve got a bad leg. I just had a pin taken out and didn’t want them to open the old surgery. I started screaming and the crowd got quite excited,” said Pugsley, who suffered a leg wound in Vietnam.

Police Sgt. Robert Vevera, who was called to the scene about 3:30 p.m., said the inside of the theater was “pretty smoky” because “some individuals in the audience were smoking marijuana.” The movie was halted, the lights turned on and Vevera formed the audience “they were violating a city ordinance and state law” against smoking in theaters.

The audience was ordered outside and told “they would be readmitted if they gave up their cigarettes,” said Vevera. Police confiscated “quite a few of both” tobacco and marijuana cigarettes, the officer said. Pugsley said that as the police were searching members of the audience, “I was being pretty verbal with a cop. He pushed me up against a wall and said, ‘shut up or there’ll be trouble.”’ Pugsley said that he obeyed the officer’s order and that he was grabbed inside the theater after another member of the audience shouted at an officer. According to Vevera, Pugsley was released because of the ‘physical impossibility of getiing him out of there without hurting someone. “If we felt the crime was bad enough, we could have used a club or mace But this wasn’t a murder or anything.”

Vevera said he was treated at University Hospital for a torn knee he received in the scuffle. Another officer’s watch was stolen during the incident.