KINGMAN, Ariz. — Leaders of Colorado City, where members of a polygamous religious enclave reside, are filing complaints accusing Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan of misconduct.
Town Manager David Darger told Mohave County supervisors Monday that Sheahan has gone overboard in efforts to discredit and decertify members of the marshal’s office in the northern Arizona community. Colorado City is home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“This wholesale attack on the city police department is far outside the bounds of propriety of any elected official,” Darger said at the meeting. “The town is currently filing a complaint with the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office concerning this ongoing problem of how the county handles Colorado City issues.”
Sheahan and Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith contend that county law enforcement presence in Colorado City is necessary. They said several town marshals have been decertified in recent years because they were less loyal to the law than they were to their religion and to FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, who is jailed in Kingman and awaiting trial.
Jeffs is charged with sexual conduct with a minor in connection with the arrangement of spiritual unions resulting in sex involving two underage girls and their male adult relatives.
One of the relationships resulted in the conviction of Jeffs in Utah on charges of rape as an accomplice.
Jeffs associate Willie Jessop said harassment by Sheahan and his deputies is similar to excessive and abusive law enforcement efforts used on an FLDS ranch in Texas, where hundreds of women and children were rounded up last year. Jessop warned supervisors of repercussions if Sheahan does not change his attitude.
“Ya’ll is going to be facing it. I used to not know what the term ‘ya’ll’ meant, but ya’ll need to because it’s coming at ya,” Jessop said. “We have put the feds on notice, and we have put the governor on notice.”
“If Mr. Jessop thinks that these threats are going to deter my action to bring honest law enforcement to that community in northern Arizona, he’s foolishly mistaken,” Sheahan said at the meeting. “My officers will be up there at any time I wish them to be there, and they will go wherever I want them to go.”
Supervisors told staff to relocate some modular buildings the county has leased on community college property in Colorado City. The college has decided not to renew the lease, which provided working space for state and local law enforcement officials.