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El Paso County Sheriff's Office details interactions with Black ranchers amid racism claims

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 21:36:08-05

DENVER – The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in response to outcry over the office’s alleged treatment of Nicole and Courtney “CW” Mallery, a Black couple that owns a 640-acre ranch in a rural part of the county who say they are the victims of blatant racism.

“We take all allegations of crime and civil rights violations seriously,” El Paso County Sheriff Joseph Roybal said. “My office has received numerous emails and calls with people voicing concern with how we have handle the Mallery situation over the past two years and voicing concerns about racism and property rights — callers being unaware of the facts of our involvement, which is largely why we are here today.”

During the news conference, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Chris Gonzales presented several body camera videos depicting deputies’ interactions with the Mallerys.

Body camera videos

The first video from April 7, 2021, shows a process server walking past a barrier and onto the Mallery’s property to serve the couple with legal papers.

In the video, Nicole Mallery can be heard screaming at the server. The man runs away toward his unmarked vehicle, and a gunshot can be heard a few minutes later.

The server said Nicole shot into the air, and Nicole was charged with menacing. The server was not charged with trespassing on private property.

Gonzales was asked about Nicole’s Second Amendment rights while on her property.

“Brandishing a weapon is not necessarily against the law unless you use it in a threatening manner, such as firing rounds off as the person’s trying to leave the property,” Gonzales said.

The menacing charge against Nicole was later dismissed.

Gonzales presented another video from April 21, 2021, showing a SWAT team was present as Nicole and CW Mallery were arrested for the incident involving the process server.

Nicole can be heard screaming and complaining about shoulder pain. She calls the officers pigs and uses profanity.

During this incident, Nicole was charged with assault on a police officer, and she later pleaded guilty.

Poisoned animals and Facebook posts

The videos the sheriff’s office presented did not address the Mallery’s concerns regarding their animals being poisoned.

“Mr. Mallery also complained that his dog was poisoned. The deputy asked for additional information, as well as requested Courtney [CW] Mallery take the dog to the veterinarian. Unsatisfied with the conversation, Nicole Mallory contacted a supervisor during that conversation,” Gonzales said during the news conference.

The Mallerys say they took their dog to an animal hospital, and claim multiple animals have been poisoned.

The sheriff’s office has not provided Denver7 with records regarding the Mallery’s dog being poisoned or other cases involving an investigation into the Mallery’s poison claims. But the office did provide a record of deputies responding to a call from someone else claiming the Mallery’s poisoned their sheep.

“It's like lately we’ve been saying, 'OK, my dog is poisoned.' They turn around and they're saying, 'Well, they poisoned my sheep,'” CW said in a previous interview referring to the case.

Sheriff’s office releases records pertaining to the Mallerys

Late Tuesday evening, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released 129 pages of records regarding the Mallerys.

In one record from May 11, 2021, the Mallerys called to report a man trespassing on their land.

A deputy arrived and described the man as having a medical condition.

According to sheriff’s office records, Nicole Mallery still requested the deputy charge the man with trespassing. The deputy decided there was “no criminal intent.”

During another instance on August 11, 2021, the sheriff’s office was dispatched to the Mallery’s property in regards to a situation between Nicole, a man and his son.

The man told deputies they stopped near the Mallery’s property to pet a snake when Nicole yelled at them to leave.

The man said they did not trespass. Nicole told the deputy the two did trespass.

The man said Nicole had a gun in her vehicle and moved it to a front seat. He told the deputy Nicole never pointed the gun at them.

Nicole was charged with child endangerment.

Facebook posts

On September 19, 2022, and September 23, 2022, deputies investigated posts made in a community Facebook group regarding the Mallery’s and their property.

A sheriff’s office report mentioned uncovering comments about drivers deliberately driving the roads near the Mallery’s property. But the report did not address comments from screenshots provided to Denver7 by the Mallerys that included:

  • ”I was amazed at how much property was tagged Black Lives Matter, didn’t expect that kind of in your face crap way out here.”
  • “Are there any restrictions on size of pitchforks and fire sticks in Colorado.”

The deputy found “no comment or post was evidently made by nor indicative of third-party harassment.”

The Mallery’s murdered ranch hand

On May 12, 2021, a ranch hand who worked for the Mallerys named Donaciano Amaya was found dead in Rush, Colorado.

Social media accused an El Paso County deputy of being involved — a claim the sheriff’s office vehemently denies.

The sheriff’s office addressed the case during the news conference.

“On May 14, 2021, Courtney Mallery called EPSO dispatch because he was concerned for his safety after the murder of his ranch hand. He requested EPS to patrol, check the area to ensure his safety. There was an active investigation into the murder of Donaciano Amaya, and there is a person of interest in this case. Nicole and Courtney [CW] Mallory were interviewed in this investigation because the victim did work for them,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said the Mallerys have never claimed that a sheriff’s deputy was involved in the ranch hand’s murders.

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