A Black Colorado cattle rancher and his wife are accusing White locals of harassing them and killing their farm animals in an attempt to steal their land. According to Ark Republic, Courtney W. Mallery and his wife Nicole’s 1,000-acre ranch is situated in a predominantly white and hostile county in Colorado.
The couple allege local Whites have been harassing them in an effort to get them out of the area. They claim their farm tools have been destroyed while some of their animals have either been butchered or stolen. The animals that have been killed include goats and pigs. The couple also allege their dog was poisoned.
Besides that, they’ve had to frequently change surveillance equipment as they are allegedly immobilized by strangers who point a device at the cameras. Their electricity lines have also been destroyed and their well water has been stolen by neighbors who connected an illegal line to the source.
The couple also claim there have been instances where people have tried to harm them. In one of those incidents, a White man allegedly drove toward Courtney while he was fixing a fence on his farm. The Black man managed to make it out safely after he entered his vehicle and drove off. But the White driver pursued Courtney until he got to the end of his farm.
In another instance, Nicole was driving when a White woman nearly made her veer off the road, Ark Republic reported. The White driver, who was pursuing Nicole, also pulled out what seemed like a gun. At the time of the incident, Nicole was with a nephew and nieces who had visited them.
And though the couple have filed multiple complaints with local law enforcement, they allege El Paso County sheriff, Sergeant Emory “Ray” Gerhart, has turned a blind eye to their predicament. Courtney also claims that Gerhart threatened to arrest him if he kept calling the police.
“As the only Black farmer in the area, it’s become evident that our skin color and race are the only driving factors of this extreme racism, discrimination and harassment. No other farmers have been approached or have had any of our experiences,” Courtney said in a petition to get Sheriff Gerhart terminated.
Court documents show that Courtney has applied for six restraining orders against individuals in El Paso County, 9News reported. The Black rancher makes mention of his property being vandalized and his animals being attacked in the filing. A woman who also accused Courtney of stalking and harassing her also applied for a restraining order against him, records revealed.
But on Monday, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office arrested the Black ranchers on felony warrants. Per court records, authorities were expected to bring felony stalking charges against the couple.
“Unfortunately, there are still corrupt police and racist people out there who are trying to block minority farmers from using their agricultural land because of their race. In Colorado Springs, the Mallery’s are the most recent victims of this blatant racism and vitriol,” the couple said in a statement.
In the wake of their arrests, the NAACP announced it was going to look into the case. “I would really hope that the El Paso County Sheriff’s department and several others in rural areas understand that we’re taking this very seriously,” Portia Prescott, who is the president of the Rocky Mountain NAACP, said. “It needs to be taken a lot more seriously than they have taken it in the past.”
But the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement refuting the racism allegations. “The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office vehemently denies these allegations,” the statement said. The Sheriff’s Office also claimed that over the last two years, it had “individually and thoroughly investigated” 170 calls and 19 complaints involving the Black ranchers.