Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Court Enters Housing and Policing Injunctions Against FLDS-Dominated Towns

In United States v. Town of  Colorado City, Arizona, (D AZ, April 18, 2017), an Arizona federal district court took major steps to attempt to normalize the housing and policing situation in the FLDS-controlled twin towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah.  The Justice Department sued the towns under the Fair Housing Act and the Policing Act (42 USC §14141).  In introducing its 54-page opinion setting out detailed injunctive relief, the court said;
The constitutional right to free exercise of religion, on the one hand, and the statutory right to housing and constitutional policing, on the other hand, are vitally important to a viable, peaceful community.... Denial of housing rights and lawful policing to some residents at the behest of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... has cost the cities dearly – millions of dollars – in the past.
.... It is now time for the citizens of Colorado City and City of Hildale to come together and accept the fact that communal ownership of residential property in the Defendant Cities is a thing of the past. All residents of the Defendant Cities must be afforded equal access to housing and residential services, to nondiscriminatory law enforcement, and to free exercise of their religious preferences that are not contrary to law. By this judgment and decree, the court hopes to assist the Defendant Cities and their residents in advancing the protection of civil rights to which they are entitled.
The court ordered the cities to engage an independent monitor to assure housing compliance and hiring of an outside consultant to aid in reorganization and policy changes in the Colorado City Marshall's Office.