Polygamous Police Under Scrutiny

Arizona AG alleges that FLDS police enforce laws selectively

Warren Jeffs
Warren Jeffs

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to initiate a civil rights inquiry into the Colorado City, Ariz., police department, which is staffed by members of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamist breakaway Mormon sect (see "Meet the New Neighbors," July 29). The FLDS is currently headquartered in the twin towns of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, an area known as Short Creek. For two years, the church has also been developing a private compound on land outside the West Texas town of Eldorado, just south of San Angelo. "I believe that the officers of the Colorado City [PD] have engaged in a pattern of practices of conduct that deprives individuals of their constitutional and civil rights," Goddard wrote to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, reports the Tucson Citizen. The Colorado City police, who are FLDS members and thus not inclined to enforce laws that run contrary to church teachings – like enforcing the age of consent and banning polygamy – "seem to be aiding and abetting criminal activity," Goddard wrote. "They seem to have, under church direction, a very selective view to enforce the law." The latest blow to the FLDS comes as the group's leader, the "prophet" Warren Jeffs, is on the lam, dodging arrest for criminal indictments related to his arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and an older, married man.

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