Friday, June 22, 2012

Feds sue municipalities in Utah, Arizona for religious discrimination, police harassment

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, for discriminating against residents who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Most residents of the neighboring border towns are members of the sect, and its shared police department, the Colorado City Police, is dominated by church members.  The suit accuses the Colorado City police of flouting the law by allowing sect members to "destroy crops and vandalize property of nonmembers."  Justice Department officials also accuse the officers of keeping "underage brides from running away," and the complaint alleges that the cities refuse "to provide electricity and water to nonmembers." Federal officials filed the lawsuit only after both the Utah and Arizona legislatures failed to pass bills that would have abolished the Colorado City Police Department. 

Read more here.  An earlier post briefly discussing Hildale/Colorado City is here. Colorado City's population is 4,821, and that of Hildale is 2,726.

Warren Jeffs, the spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is serving a life sentence in Texas for having sex with under-age females.  Read more here and here.

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