Colorado Rights Blog


  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.


Denver Officer Faces 2nd Racial Profiling Settlement

City Council Considers $24K Settlement Monday Night

Alan Gathright, 7NEWS Content Producer

POSTED: 11:42 am MDT October 11, 2010
UPDATED: 11:58 am MDT October 11, 2010

DENVER — The Denver City Council will decide Monday night whether to pay a $24,000 racial profiling settlement that involves a police sergeant who was previously involved in a $75,000 racial profiling settlement in 2004.

During the 2004 racial profiling lawsuit, attorneys found then-police Officer Perry Speelman was the subject of 17 internal affairs investigations involving complaints of "unnecessary force" and "discourtesy" over the prior 10 years, according to the current lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

How did Denver Police Department supervisors respond to repeated allegations of misconduct by Speelman?

They promoted him to sergeant, the ACLU noted in the lawsuit.

Now the city council is considering a $24,000 settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed on April 14 by two African American men who accuse Speelman, two other officers and the department of racial profiling during a February 2009 traffic stop.

Ashford Wortham and Cornelius Campbell were pulled over by police on Feb. 13, 2009, and cited for failure to wear a seat belt, failure to come to a complete stop before turning at a red light and failure to sign an insurance card.

Denver County Court Judge Aileen Ortiz-White dismissed all three charges against the men on June 26, 2009, ruling that officers had no probable cause to stop them, the lawsuit said.

The judge also found that “police conduct was extreme, profane and racially motivated,” and that the Wortham and Campbell were “unlawfully detained for an unreasonable time," the lawsuit said.

The judge specifically noted in an order that Speelman’s “credibility was seriously questioned based on his testimony about the location of the stop and details of the stop.”

(Read the ACLU Internal Affairs Lawsuit.)

Previous Stories: ACLU Sues Denver Relating To Racial Profiling Case


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