Black Ranchers Who Alleged White Neighbors Harrassed Them And Murdered Their Animals Finally Get Justice
All criminal charges against a Black ranching couple in Colorado arrested on felony stalking have been dropped.
On May 11, the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges against Courtney “CW” Mallery and his wife, Nicole. During their trial, their allegations of racial discrimination and law enforcement cover-ups gained national attention.
“We are pleased with this outcome and recognize the district attorney’s office for reaching this conclusion,” The couple’s attorneys, Tyrone Glover, Matthew Roche and Jeremy Loew, said in a joint statement. “While justice has been served today, the fight for individual, law enforcement and prosecutorial accountability are far from over.”
The couple owns Freedom Acres Ranch, a 640-acre ranch in rural Yoder, a predominantly white town 100 miles southeast of Denver. CPR News reported The EL Paso County police arrested the Mallerys on February 6. The documented charges were felony stalking, tampering with a utility meter and petty theft.
The charges resulted from an ongoing feud with their neighbors, Teresa and Bonnie Clark. For two years, the couples argued over ownership of Truckton Road, a strip of land leading to both the Mallery and Clark properties. The couple says they own the road, even though it is the only way to access the Clarks’ property.
During the two-year dispute, the Mallerys had made their own complaints. According to CBS News, the husband and wife had continuously complained about their white neighbors but felt local officials ignored their concerns. Complaints were made regarding alleged racist actions. The couple also alleged that Clark was poisoning their animals, destroying their property and threatening them with guns. “We are stopped. We are harassed. We are chased. We are followed. There’s been spray paint where they put (n-word) on items,” Nicole said.
The couple indicated that retaliation was the cause of their arrest. However, they finally received justice earlier this month. “Justice delayed, justice served,” CW told Denver 7 shortly after the case against him and his wife was dropped. The rancher continued. “You know, it’s, I’m happy that it got to this point. I always knew that it would get to this point because like I say, from the very beginning, we did nothing, we said nothing. And we’ve been, we were attacked by the sheriff’s department and the local community.”
District Attorney Michael Allen wrote the motion to dismiss the cases, stating “there is no likelihood for success at trial.” Afterward, Nicole told the station the DA’s decision “spoke volumes” about how she and her husband “were targeted by the sheriff’s office.”
She added, “It’s been a lot of trauma. It’s been a lot of pain, a lot of humiliation, embarrassment. And despite what a lot of, maybe the sheriff’s office thinks, we feel pain. We are deeply hurt by their actions and inaction.”
Although the charges were dismissed, the couple’s legal team states there may still be a chance for a lawsuit. “We implore the district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to conduct more thorough front-end investigations before filing charges, to minimize injustices such as these in the future and to ensure the criminally accused are afforded due process of law,” they said in a statement.
As they move forward, Nicole still seeks justice for their murdered animals. “This is just one step toward justice. But we still have to get justice for our animals. They were part of our family. They were poisoned. It was done intentionally and maliciously.”
Despite feeling as though local authorities are attempting to drive Black farmers out, CW is ready to return to his passion. “I want to continue to farm, and I want to continue now more than ever. I want to expose and bring other people out to farm with me, you know, and show them show them agriculture,” he told Denver 7.