PHOENIX — A federal judge said he will not disband the police force in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah; and Colorado City, Ariz.
In a ruling issued late Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge James Tielborg said dissolving the Colorado City Town Marshal’s Office “would burden both Defendants and the State with a layer of bureaucracy extending into potential perpetuity.”
“The Court does not doubt that the disbanding of the local law enforcement and the appointment of a monitor would be effective at preventing future discrimination by Defendants,” he wrote. “However, considering all the facts of the case, more narrowly tailored injunctive relief is appropriate.”
Read the judge’s order here:
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined with Arizona’s attorney general in supporting the dismantling of the Colorado City Town Marshal’s Office, believing it could stamp out discrimination against those who are not members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, run by Warren Jeffs.
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Ron and Jinjer Cooke, who won a multi-million dollar judgment after alleging the town governments denied them services because they are not members of the FLDS church. The U.S. Justice Department has a similar lawsuit pending against Hildale and Colorado City.
The police force has faced criticism that it is more loyal to Jeffs than the people they are sworn to protect or the laws of Utah and Arizona. A former town marshal recently said in a deposition that he lied for Jeffs and helped the FLDS leader in the midst of criminal investigations.
Jeffs is serving a life, plus 20-year sentence in a Texas prison for child sex assault related to underage marriages.