Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • 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. 

ACLU and Immigrant Rights Activists Converge in Denver to Support “Estamos Unidos”

Leaders in the ACLU immigration rights movement — joined by elected officials, faith leaders and Denver activists — will join at the Denver City County Building May 10 to welcome the ACLU "Estamos Unidos" bus tour and call attention to unjust anti-immigrant policy.

The ACLU is fighting back against anti-immigrant laws inspired by Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 through impact litigation and legislative advocacy. Arizona’s enactment of SB 1070 set off a number of copycat attempts in states across the country in 2011. There are now five states — Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah — that have passed Arizona copycat laws.

The ACLU and other civil rights groups have filed lawsuits challenging the six laws. The Department of Justice has also filed lawsuits challenging Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah’s anti-immigrant laws. So far, federal courts have blocked major provisions from taking effect in all six states. The constitutionality of the Arizona law is being debated by the U.S. Supreme Court with an opinion expected in mid June.

The ACLU believes these racial profiling laws invite rampant racial profiling against Latinos and others presumed to be "foreign” based on how they look or sound, said Denise Maes, ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director. "We welcome the bus tour so that we can provide the Denver Metro area with a chance to rally to end these practices and defend families who are being targeted by these laws no matter where they live."

The "Estamos Unidos" tour, which has traveled from California to Arizona, Alabama and other states before reaching Colorado, is designed so that people can receive information on these threats to civil and constitutional rights, sign a petition calling for greater engagement from President Barack Obama, watch videos of people harmed by the policies, and get involved.

"Our hope," Maes said, "is that people will be inspired to continue speaking out in their own communities, in their congregations, in the public square. We must be united so that this assault on basic rights will end."

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