By Audrey Sawyer
YODER, COLORADO – Two married Black ranchers in rural Colorado who go by Nicole and Courtney “CW” Mallery are claiming “a modern-day KKK assault” against them by neighbors, according to media reports, including the Denver ABC affiliate.
But last week, according to the CO station, it was the Mallerys who were arrested.
It had been months of the Mallerys and neighbor Teresa Clark filing scores of complaints against each other, but the Mallerys were jailed on alleged charges of stalking, tampering with water and utility, and theft.
The Mallerys said threats escalated to violence, with dogs being poisoned, animals being gutted, people sent to their home, being under threat of lynching, hanging, pitchforks, and fire. They stated that a chicken coop of theirs was set on fire.
Nicole Mallery said she believes the attacks are “a modern-day KKK assault against my family.”
The case had recently caught the attention of the NAACP.
Rashad Younger, NAACP Membership Committee Chair, questioned the actions of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office about investigating the Mallerys’ claims, to which the office responded that they had never received a report of the incidents occurring.
The NAACP helped bail the Mallerys out of jail and are now working to find the Mallerys legal representation, partnering with the ACLU to find them support.
A news conference held by the sheriff’s office this past week denied the claims of racial discrimination, and claimed it investigated 19 different complaints involving or by the Mallerys, over 170 calls for service involving them, including 46 calls said to be from the neighbor, 47 by Nicole, and 11 by Courtney.
The sheriff briefly gave details on claims of harassment and racial discrimination, but did claim to review prior cases. The office has so far reopened two, of which one states the Mallerys as victims, the office said.
The Mallerys told media they had purchased a 640-acre property named Freedom Acres Ranch in 2020. After the purchase of the property and taking ownership of the land, problems began to arise with their neighbor.
The neighbor and the Mallerys reside south of Yoder in El Paso County, with the neighbor residing a little more than a mile south of the Mallerys.
The arrest affidavit states the main concern of the neighbor is Nicole Mallery. Included in the document is the sergeant writing that the neighbor provided him with videos and photos of “activity believed to be criminal in nature.”
One example is a video of Nicole Mallery stopping her vehicle in front of the property of the neighbor, exiting her car, putting her hands up in the air, saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Courtney Mallery not long after is seen walking by the property with his hands in the air.
Another provided incident is the usage of multiple cameras on the Mallery property, one of which is unobstructed and shown to be directly pointed at the home of the neighbor. Two more cameras were added in October 2022, with a fourth added later.
Regarding the allegations that they were trying to intimidate their neighbor with having their hands in the air, Courtney Mallery responded to the ABC affiliate, “My cows were loose, so we went down there, got our cows and we pushed them back the way they came out. And as we said, we need to put up our hands and say that we are just getting our cows.”
Nicole Mallery noted, “Putting our hands up is a safety measure as an African American. As a young girl, you are taught that when you are in a situation where it is not safe, and you believe there is danger to your life, and there is a gun pointed at you, or anything of that sort to ensure that you are in a non-threatening position.”
While the Mallerys said they are concerned about their neighbor, the larger problem they believe is the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department for enabling their neighbor’s behavior.
Threats from local community members on a Facebook page include comments asking if there are any restrictions on sizes of pitchforks and firesticks in Colorado, with another commenter advising everyone to go have car issues on that road. The page has since been taken down.