PHOENIX (AP) — The latest on the hearing to decide the future of a polygamous community along the Arizona-Utah: (all times local):
A key witness in the government's effort to disband the police department in a polygamous community on the Arizona-Utah border has begun testifying about how law enforcement operates in the towns.
Jeff Barlow is the leader of a trust that owns most of the real estate in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah. He told a federal judge Monday that officers in the cities' shared police department work against his group and turned a blind eye to various property crimes. He also says officers routinely let residents ignore eviction notices on homes that aren't supposed to be occupied.
The trust wants a federal judge to appoint a receiver to take over both city government and the police department. A receivership would more give power to those overhauling the city's operations.
A jury earlier this year found that nonbelievers of the polygamous sect were denied police protection, building permits and water hookups in the towns.
A court hearing beginning Monday will explore the federal government's bid to disband the shared police department for two polygamous towns in Arizona and Utah that were found to have discriminated against nonbelievers.
The four-day hearing in Phoenix will examine remedies that U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland could order in response to a jury's finding seven months ago that nonbelievers were denied police protection, building permits and water hookups in adjacent Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah.
Jurors concluded officers treated nonbelievers inequitably, arrested them without having probable cause and made unreasonable searches of their property.
The towns vigorously oppose the request to disband the police department.