EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — All criminal charges against Courtney "CW" and Nicole Mallery, Black ranchers in rural El Paso County whose story of racial discrimination and murdered animals on their ranch has garnered national attention, were dismissed on Thursday after the Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office determined there was "no likelihood for success at trial."
CW and Nicole were charged with felony stalking, tampering with a utility meter and petty theft stemming from disputeswith their neighbors and El Paso County Sheriff's Office deputies.
The Mallerys said shortly after they expressed concerns about their neighbor and the use of a road easement owned by the couple but located between their property and their neighbor's, they faced racially-motivated online threats, and multiple animals on their ranch were poisoned.
"Given evidence that the People have at this point, and the credibility of the witnesses, there is no likelihood for success at trial and therefore the People are moving to dismiss this case," Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen wrote in his motion to dismiss the cases.
“Justice delayed, justice served," CW said shortly after learning the case against him was dropped. "You know, it's, I'm happy that it got to this point. I always knew that it would get to this point because like I say, from the very beginning, we did nothing, we said nothing. And we've been, we were attacked by the sheriff's department and the local community."
Nicole said Allen's statement was a reflection of "what really has been going on."
“The DA was very honest in his motion to dismiss about the fact that the witnesses were not credible. So I think that speaks volumes about some of what really has been going on with regard to how we were targeted by the sheriff's office,” Nicole said. “It's been a lot of trauma. It's been a lot of pain, a lot of humiliation, embarrassment. And despite what a lot of, maybe the sheriff's office thinks, we feel pain. We are deeply hurt by their actions and inaction.”
In a statement, the Mallery’s attorneys — Tyrone Glover, Matthew Roche, and Jeremy Loew — said they are pleased with the dismissal, but "the fight for individual, law enforcement and prosecutorial accountability are far from over."
“Today, prosecutors and the Court dropped all charges against the Mallery’s, determining they could not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This dismissal comes four months after the Mallery’s arrest, and with the resolute advocacy and demands for accountability from the Mallery’s and many in the community.
We are pleased with this outcome and recognize the District Attorney’s office for reaching this conclusion. While justice has been served today, the fight for individual, law enforcement and prosecutorial accountability are far from over. We implore the District Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Offices to conduct more thorough front-end investigations before filing charges, to minimize injustices such as these in the future and to ensure the criminally accused are afforded due process of law.”
The couple said as they move forward, they are still seeking justice for their murdered animals.
“This is just one step toward justice. But we still have to get justice for our animals. They were part of our family. They were poisoned. It was done intentionally and maliciously. And Colorado is a state that loves animals, spoken from the governor's mouth. And so, we're still expecting to have that independent investigation done, and for the investigation of the poisoning of our animals and the attack on our ranch,” Nicole said.
CW said he is now focused on farming.
“I want to continue to farm, and I want to continue now more than ever. I want to expose and bring other people out to farm with me, you know, and show them show them agriculture,” he said.
“I don't know if we're going to stay here because peace is so important. And if they have decided to neglect their duties when it comes to CW and I, then we're going to have to really make a long, hard choice based on whether or not the state of Colorado is going to allow El Paso County Sheriff's Office to drive Black farmers out,” Nicole said.
Dr. Vern L. Howard, spokesperson for the Mallerys, said it would be a tragedy if they left their El Paso County ranch.
“Because then that gives the county, the sheriff's department, everyone else the victory. And that's what we got to keep from happening. In other words — Nicole mentioned on a couple of occasions — people need to register and vote and let their voices be heard that this is not okay. That you cannot do this. Whether it's to the Mallerys or any other person or any other Black farmer,” Howard said. “During the pandemic, they fed this very community that is treating them as outsiders.”