A Black cattle rancher and his wife in Colorado are accusing white residents of harassing them and killing their farm animals in an attempt to steal their land. Courtney W. Mallery and his wife Nicole’s 1,000-acre ranch is located in a predominantly white and hostile county in Colorado, according to Ark Republic.
The couple claims that local Whites have been harassing them in an attempt to get them to leave the area. They claim that their farm equipment has been destroyed, and that some of their animals have been butchered or stolen. Goats and pigs are among the animals that have been slaughtered. In addition, the couple claims that their dog was poisoned.
Aside from that, they’ve had to change surveillance equipment frequently because they’ve allegedly been immobilized by strangers who point a device at the cameras. Their electricity lines were also destroyed, and their well water was stolen by neighbors who connected an unauthorized line to the source.
The couple also claims that people have attempted to harm them in the past. A White man allegedly drove toward Courtney while he was fixing a fence on his farm in one of those incidents. The Black man was able to escape safely after entering his vehicle and driving away. The White driver, on the other hand, pursued Courtney until he reached the end of his farm.
In another case, Nicole was driving when a White woman nearly forced her off the road, according to Ark Republic. The White driver who was tailing Nicole also pulled out what appeared to be a gun. Nicole was with a nephew and nieces who had come to visit them at the time of the incident.
Despite the fact that the couple has filed numerous complaints with local law enforcement, they claim El Paso County sheriff Sergeant Emory “Ray” Gerhart has turned a blind eye to their plight. Courtney also claims Gerhart threatened to arrest him if he continued to call 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 people in El Paso County, according to 9News. In the filing, the Black rancher mentions his property being vandalized and his animals being attacked. Records show that a woman who accused Courtney of stalking and harassing her also sought a restraining order against him.
However, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office arrested the Black ranchers on felony warrants on Monday. According to court records, the couple was expected to face felony stalking charges.
“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.