Couple says that an officer’s “lies” led to husband’s arrest for a warrant issued after they continued to report ongoing harassment, threats and surveillance from residents and even law enforcement.
On Monday, Black rancher Courtney Mallery was taken into custody by El Paso County deputy sheriffs. The detainment occurred while Mallery and his wife, Nicole, were live-streaming a succession of videos on Instagram near a Starbucks in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mr. Mallery explained that he was preparing to turn himself in. Though he thought he had more time, he discovered the arrest would occur “sooner than [he] anticipated.” Minutes later, another live stream showed him in a state trooper’s patrol car. While Mrs. Mallery broadcasted the arrest, she requested the public to phone the local sheriff’s office.
“Let’s flood these lines to make sure that Courtney Mallery is not harmed while he’s in custody,” directed an upset Nicole to those who watched the stream.
For over two years, the couple has been in an intense political and legal battle with law enforcement and some residents in their predominantly white town. The town is located in El Paso County.
| READ: Get Out: Black Colorado ranchers face domestic terrorism by local whites who they say are trying to steal their land. Pt. 1
The Mallerys’ allege that they have been targeted because they are Black ranchers in a predominantly white locale, where residents reject them living there. Subsequently, they have been subjected to ongoing harassment, property damage, surveillance and other racialized attacks. At the heart of their allegations is Emory Ray Gerhart, a local El Paso County officer. His wife is Shannon Gerhart, a Colorado judge who sits on the 4th Judicial Branch.
Mr. Mallery told Ark Republic that Gerhart had repeatedly threatened to file charges against them for their multiple complaints over the years. Before his arrest, Mr. Mallery explained that the warrant was a “result of [Gerhart’s] lies and false charges.” At one point during her husband’s detainment, Mrs. Mallery yelled, “Gerhart is a liar, he’s a racist.”
In response to Ark Republic’s previous reporting, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department emphasized that they “remain committed to fostering safety for our community and our neighbors while ensuring Constitutional and civil rights are upheld regardless [of] race, color, national origin, or any other legally protected characteristic.”
Documents obtained by Ark Republic show a mailed notice was signed by Gerhart on December 12, 2022. The charges are stalking, tampering with a utility meter and petty theft. The charges are felonies and can lead to jail time.
| Get Out: ‘I stood naked with my shotgun.’ Black ranchers say white residents terrorize their Colorado farm to push them off of their land. Pt. 2
“I’m not well, but this is part of it,” soberly stated Mr. Mallery as he was handcuffed in the state trooper’s car. According to the couple, one of the officers at the scene, Deputy Sheriff Ronnie Hancock, is an ally of Gerhart. The couple refers to the officer and those complicit in local department as “Gehart’s goons,” because they have allowed the targeted actions against the Mallerys to persist.
While on the livestream, Mrs. Mallery accused Deputy Hancock of refusing to provide information during Mr. Mallery’s arrest. Shortly thereafter, he and other officers at the scene began to detail where Mr. Mallery would be taken and the process involved in bonding him out. Mr. Mallery’s bond is set at $2,000.
Ark Republic reached out to El Paso County Sheriff’s communications office for a comment. At press time, they have yet to release a statement about the warrant or arrest. However, a statement by Sheriff Royball requested that the Black and Latino Coalition Leadership Council coordinate a meeting with the Mallerys’ “to address ongoing concerns” raised by the couple and the onslaught of social media distribution of the issue.
Art Douglas Blacksher of “The Black Round Business Round Table” contributed to this article.
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