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.


ACLU Announces Settlement of Random Drug Testing Case


August 7, 2002

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) announced the settlement today of a lawsuit filed in 2000 to challenge a Colorado rule that required kennel workers in the Greyhound racing industry to submit samples of their urine to be tested for drugs.


The settlement came after Colorado officials rescinded the challenged policy, which permitted state officials to demand the urine samples on a random basis, without any suspicion that the individuals to be tested had been using drugs.


According to the ACLU, such random drug testing violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, because it requires innocent workers to submit to a search of their urine when there are no facts to warrant any suspicion that they are illegally using drugs.


The lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court on behalf of Cynthia and Gary Timm, who worked under state-issued licenses to train and raise Greyhounds at kennels located at Colorado racetracks. After Colorado adopted the random drug testing policy in 1999, Cynthia Timm lost her license because she refused to provide a urine sample. In order to continue working, Gary Timm provided urine samples under duress, the lawsuit said.


In addition to rescinding the challenged policy, Colorado officials restored Cynthia Timm's license and placed a letter in her file explaining that she was never suspected of using drugs.


The settlement came after the ACLU won a victory in the case in the Colorado Court of Appeals. In a ruling issued last December, the appeals court reversed the lower court's decision to dismiss the ACLU lawsuit. The Court of Appeals held that the State of Colorado had not provided sufficient justification for the random drug testing of Greyhound kennel workers.


"Although the appellate court did not rule that this particular drug testing policy was unconstitutional, Colorado officials recognized that they would have a hard time justifying the policy under the legal standard announcd by the Court of Appeals," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "To their credit, Colorado officials did the right thing after the appellate court decision. By rescinding the drug testing policy and restoring our client's license, they helped bring this litigation quickly to a just conclusion."


Defendants in the case, Timm v. Reitz, included David Reitz, Director of the Division of Racing Events of the Colorado Department of Revenue, as well as the five members of the Colorado Racing Commission.

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