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South of Yoder in El Paso County, about an hour east of Colorado Springs, Nicole and Courtney “CW” Mallery are at the center of a viral “Black Ranchers” story which began with the purchase of their 640-acre property called Freedom Acres Ranch in 2020.
On Feb. 6, after months of the Mallerys and their neighbor filing complaints against each other to the local Sheriff’s Office, it was the Black married couple who would be arrested on warrants related to those charges but have since been released on bond.
Denver 7 reports the affidavits, both written by the same El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant, named the Black Ranchers’ neighbor as the victim in the case.
After filing multiple complaints against the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office sergeant, Nicole says her loved ones are experiencing “what I believe is a modern-day KKK assault against my family” inside of a town unwelcoming to displays of Blackness.
According to the Mallerys, immediately after taking ownership of their land, they began having problems with their White neighbors, Teresa and Bonnie Clark.
The couple said those problems would lead to extremely racist acts and repeated damage to their livestock and property.
NAACP steps in as state of Colorado stands by
The NAACP have since helped bail the Mallerys out of jail and are working on providing legal representation. They are also partnering with the ACLU to provide other support.
Among others vowing to get to the bottom of the escalating tension, the office of Colorado Senator John W. Hickenlooper office sent the following statement:
“Our office is aware of these claims and takes them very seriously. Members of Senator Hickenlooper’s Colorado staff are meeting with folks on the ground, including NAACP local and regional chapters, and are monitoring this situation closely.”
Feeling threatened by her neighbor and ignored by her local police, Nicole said, “Let me be clear about something, I do not have a neighbor dispute. My dispute is with El Paso County Sheriff’s Department for enabling this behavior.”
Police records show easement is on Black Ranchers’ property
After police released their internal records Tuesday, it was discovered that the Mallerys were in fact the first to contact police about a dispute over the easement in April 2021.
An easement divides the Clark and Mallery properties, which holds the only access to several ranch properties, including the Clarks’. The sole purpose of this easement is to provide property access to the adjacent landlocked properties.
Police said the easement is actually on the Mallerys’ property line, according to Colorado Public Radio.
Police describe Nicole Mallery as “generally antagonistic”
In a March 2022 report, police described Nicole Mallery as “generally antagonistic,” and “one of the most antagonistic people” they had ever met, as reported by Colorado Public Radio.
The angry Black woman stereotype has penetrated many parts of American culture, including the police.
This pervasive stereotype not only characterizes Black women as more hostile, aggressive, overbearing, illogical, ill-tempered and bitter, but often is weaponized by law enforcement to justify mistreatment of Black women.
The sergeant noted in the affidavit that this was strange as the Mallery family had restraining orders against the woman — though those have been dismissed. According to the document, investigators found “it highly unusual that the Mallerys, Nicole in particular, feel the need to put themselves in such close proximity to (the woman) for no foreseeable reason.”
In one particular dispute, a surveillance video captures Courtney Mallery driving by the Clark property on Oct. 27 after she had left for work. The video captured their vehicle driving by her property six times that day.
“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 our hands up and say, ‘Please don’t shoot us. We’re just getting our cows,’” CW said.
Nicole said she was unsure how the gesture was perceived as threatening to their neighbor.
“Putting our hands up is a safety [measure] as an African American. As a young girl, we’ve been taught that when you are in a situation where it is not safe, and you believe there is a danger to your life, and there’s a gun pointed at you, or anything of that sort to ensure that you are in a non-threatening position. I did not want my cows to be harmed or shot or maimed,” Nicole said.
Freedom Acres Ranch is actively ‘under threat’
After discovering unsupportive messages and threatening comments on Facebook by community members, CW said over the past few months online innuendo has quickly exacerbated into actual violence being committed on the Black Ranchers’ property.
“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 said. To date, 20 farm animals have been stolen or poisoned, according to the Mallerys.
The Black Wall Street Times reached out to the El Paso Sheriff’s Office, however, our communication has yet to be returned.
This story is developing.