EL PASO COUNTY, Colo (KDVR) — For the first time, the El Paso County sheriff made public statements about an ongoing neighbor dispute and racial allegations involving the Black ranchers who own Freedom Acres.
The office held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to share its side of the story about the ongoing issues that have shaken up Yoder residents and left Courtney and Nicole Mallery fearing for their lives.
As pages of records and allegations continue to surface, the truth about the ongoing, entangled allegations is still muddy. El Paso County Sheriff Joseph Roybal got in front of a microphone, along with other county officials, to offer what they say is transparency to find a peaceful solution.
Property, racism allegations at center of case
Roybal addressed ongoing rumors on Tuesday that have hit the department hard over the last few weeks.
“We take all allegations of crime and civil rights violations seriously,” Roybal said. “Misinformation and the mischaracterization of my office and my employees. Since the time of Mr. Mallery’s arrest, my office has received numerous emails and calls with people voicing concern with how we have handled the Mallery situation over the last two years and raising concerns about racism and property rights.”
Roybal said an article published by another media company has fueled the fire and inaccurate information that are creating more divisiveness.
“People have threatened damage to our facilities and threatened violence towards my staff and in some cases family members of my staff,” Roybal said.
In an effort to set the record straight, officials gave a presentation on Tuesday and later released dozens of records. The ongoing neighbor dispute between Teresa Clark and the Mallerys involves several restraining orders and stalking allegations that mostly stem from property. (Watch Tuesday’s full presentation here.)
Lt. Chris Gonzalez cleared up the land rights during the presentation.
“There is over 1.4 miles of land between the Mallery homestead and the Clark homestead. All the land between the two parcels is part of the Mallery family property,” Gonzalez said.
He said although the disputed easement is technically on the Mallery property, it’s set aside by the county as an access point for landlocked owners like Clark.
Body camera video released in rancher dispute
Also, select body camera video was released showing a menacing incident from April 2021 involving Nicole Mallery, who brandished a weapon at what she thought was a trespasser on her private property.
The body camera video shows a female deputy speaking to Nicole about the incident. The deputy states a civil processor called authorities saying he was delivering a court notice to Nicole Mallery when she pointed a weapon at him and, he claims, discharged it.
Nicole is heard on a video giving her account. The U.S. Marine said she was in her home naked when a white man was looking through her window, and she ran out of the house, half-clothed, with a handgun pointed, asking him for identification and shouting that he was trespassing on private property. She claims he never identified himself and ran away.
Roybal said after the menacing investigation, a search and arrest warrant were issued for Nicole and executed by SWAT for what authorities said was based on risk factors. The office said that during the incident, Nicole kicked a deputy while restrained.
In the video, Nicole is heard screaming and saying she can’t feel her arm and needs medical attention because of the tightness of the cuffs. After a few minutes, the cuffs are loosened and medical personnel are on scene at the ranch. The sheriff’s office said Nicole refused medical treatment while at the hospital.
Case reopened in longstanding Mallery-Clark dispute
Some complaints were not discussed on Tuesday because of ongoing investigations. Roybal said their office has reviewed all complaints, and there are two complaints they could have “done more” with during the investigation. He added that in one of those cases, the Mallerys were the victims, and that case has since been reactivated.
Roybal has invited the Black and Latino Leadership Coalition to sit down for a meeting with the Mallerys to find peace. FOX31 has been told the Mallerys have now retained an attorney.