Federal Jury Finds Hildale And Colorado City Guilty Of Religious Discrimination

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA (ABC4 Utah News) – A federal jury found that the towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona owe $1.6 million to residents who are not members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church because of religious discrimination by the cities’ governments and their joint water company.

The jury ruled that Colorado City and Hildale systematically denied housing, utilities and police protection to residents who were not members of the FLDS Church.

Cedar City resident Sam Brower, author of a book titled Prophet’s Prey said violations of non-members legal rights are rampant.

“It’s housing, it’s refusing to hook up water, refusing to issue permits,” Brower said in a phone interview Monday. “The police have harassed and arrested people as simply the strong arm for the FLDS Church.”

The jury also found that the cities’ joint police department, the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, violated the 1st and 14th Amendments and engaged in unlawful seizures and arrests in violation of the 4th Amendment. The judge can now impose further sanctions against the Marshal’s Office.

“It’s been proven now that Colorado City and Hildale are run and operated by this FLDS crime syndicate and so this is the first step in dismantling that crime syndicate,” Brower said. “We’ve got a monetary damage that will hurt the FLDS and now the possibility opens up to begin to dismantle the Police Department and dismantle this corrupt city government.”

On Monday night, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued a statement applauding the jury’s verdict, saying “We feel for the victims and hope this verdict will begin to allow change in the communities and alleviate to some degree the sense of oppression many have endured.”

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