COLORADO CITY, Arizona - Two men were arrested a second time for trespassing on land one of the them is currently leasing in Colorado City. Now their lawyer plans to sue.
Colorado City marshals arrested Andrew Chatwin and Patrick Pipkin last weekend and again on Saturday. The two had been out of jail just three days.
United Effort Plan attorney Bill Walker said Chatwin and Pipkin had gone back to the 12 acres of land, formerly the town zoo, Pipkin leased from the UEP due to reports of vandalism. The two found damage estimated at $50,000, but Colorado City marshals showed up and told them to leave.
Chief Marshal Jerry Darger told Chatwin and Pipkin they couldn’t access the land until it was vacant. A man took up residence in a tack shed earlier this year. Darger said a court order is needed to evict him.
“This is property that was leased by Pipkin and Seth Cooke, so they had every right to be there," Walker said. "These people have no right to be on this property.”
Walker said it’s a common tactic used by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community when eviction proceedings are being done on commercial property. But evictions have mostly been peaceful, until now.
“There’s no reason to arrest somebody for trespassing,” said Walker. “They take their orders from Warren Jeffs, the polygamous prophet. They do whatever he says.”
Walker said it’s a bold move and shows how FLDS leaders are running law enforcement.
Darger told St. George news at the time of the arrest they’re not taking orders from FLDS church leaders.
“If the occupant doesn’t leave on their own free will and choice then they go with an unlawful detainer out of the court,” Darger said.
Still, Walker, who is also representing Chatwin and Pipkin, said he’s building a case to sue the marshal’s office for discrimination.