(YODER, Colo.) — Black ranchers in El Paso County were arrested earlier this week, after claiming they were being harassed by neighbors.
On Monday, Courtney and Nicole Mallery, who own Freedom Acres Ranch, were arrested on charges of Stalking, Tampering with Water or Utility, and Theft. They were accused by their neighbor Teresa Clark, but it’s unclear what lead to those charges being filed.
FOX21 has reached out to Teresa Clark multiple times, but she has declined to comment on the situation.
In an interview with our sister station, FOX31 in Denver, the couple said that their farm has been targeted. They provided examples of; people breaking their fences, running over their fence posts, burning their Black Lives Matter flags, spray painting racial slurs on their land, and even waving guns at them, according to FOX31.
The state chapter of the NAACP is also now getting involved. They say the heart of the issue is a property dispute between the Mallerys and their neighbors.
“Right now it’s been the neighbor says one thing and they’re trying to prove and verify the neighbor is wrong. So, it’s just become a situation that could have been handled so differently and did not need to escalate to Courtney being arrested with a level five felony charge,” said Portia Prescott, the President of the Rocky Mountain NAACP Colorado-Montana-Wyoming State Conference.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said it has responded to 170 calls and 19 complaints involving the Mallerys over the past two years.
A statement put forth by the El Paso County Sheriff, Joe Roybal, calls for a meeting between all the people involved. He is asking the Black Latino Leadership Coalition to help coordinate, and asked them to consider a panel of diverse representation to be included.
FOX21 has reached out to both parties to try and get all the sides of this story, and will continue to update on this story as it develops.