Criminal charges against Black Colorado ranchers dropped
Charges against CW and Nicole Mallery, including felony stalking, tampering with a utility meter and petty theft, were dismissed on Thursday, May 11 after months of disputes with a neighbor and local law enforcement.
All criminal charges brought against two Black ranchers in El Paso County, Colorado amid claims of facing racial harassment at their property during a months-long dispute with a neighbor and local law enforcement, have been dismissed.
Courtney “CW” Mallery and his wife, Nicole Mallery, allege they were terrorized at their ranch for months as the local sheriff’s office turned a blind eye to their claims and instead sided with a white neighbor who filed their own harassment claims against the Black couple, according to reports from ABC affiliate Denver7.
On Feb. 6, the Mallerys were reportedly arrested on charges of felony stalking, tampering with a utility meter and petty theft after the couple and their neighbor had filed multiple complaints against each other, per the outlet.
The arrest affidavits for the Mallerys identify the victim as the couple’s neighbor, who first contacted the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on March 11, 2022 claiming “fear for her safety due to unusual and disturbing behavior” from Nicole and CW.
The neighbor accused Nicole and CW of intimidating her by walking through an easement between their properties with their hands in the air, as well as accusing Nicole of telling the woman through a loudspeaker that she should pack “for heaven.”
The affidavit also included the woman’s claims of a damaged window on her vehicle with tire tracks tracing back to the Mallery’s property, and additional claims, per the report.
In a follow-up interview, the Mallerys denied doing anything deliberately threatening or harmful to the neighbor or her property, with Nicole claiming that the sheriff’s office is “enabling this behavior” and that crimes on the couple’s property increased after the sheriff’s office took over the case.
CW said that what began as online threats through Facebook escalated to violent crimes including murdered animals and torn “Black Lives Matter” flags that left the Mallerys in fear of their safety, as the sheriff’s office ordered the removal of security cameras from the couple’s property but allowed the neighbor to keep theirs, per Denver7.
“Dogs being poisoned. Animals being gutted, our lives being threatened, people being sent to our home, under threat of lynching, hanging, pitchforks, fire. We had a chicken coop set ablaze,” Nicole told the outlet.
Following the Mallerys’ arrest, the case garnered national attention from civil rights advocacy groups including the NAACP and ACLU, as well as support from users across social media platforms, per the report.
After months of court proceedings which began in February, the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office concluded on Thursday, May 11 that there was “no likelihood for success at trial” due to publicized evidence and lack of witness credibility.
Michael Allen, Fourth Judicial District Attorney, wrote a motion to dismiss the case which read: “Given evidence that the People have at this point, and the credibility of the witnesses, there is no likelihood for success at trial and therefore the People are moving to dismiss this case.”
CW and Nicole said in follow-up statements that the dismissal reflects their claims from the beginning that they didn’t incite any harassment against the neighbor and were instead targeted themselves by the community and the sheriff’s office.
“The DA was very honest in his motion to dismiss about the fact that the witnesses were not credible. So I think that speaks volumes about some of what really has been going on with regard to how we were targeted by the sheriff’s office,” Nicole said.
The couple added that they have endured a lot of trauma throughout the case and while the charges have been dropped, they still seek justice for the livestock that were killed and plan to continue investigating the matter independently.
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