FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 1999
On Tuesday morning, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado called for an immediate and thorough investigation of possible police misconduct in the wake of news footage which appeared to show the beating of suspects by the Denver Police. Today they applauded the swift response by the Denver Police Department and welcomed the intervention of Mayor Wellington Webb.
"We are pleased that the internal affairs investigation is underway and is expected to be completed by next week," stated Michele Parish, Acting Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado. "It is heartening that the mayor and chief of police are taking the matter seriously. We urge that the results be shared with the public immediately. As citizens we entrust the police with tremendous power. In return, the police must hold themselves to account when incidents such as this occur."
Parish also encouraged internal affairs to investigate whether the alleged brutality was influenced by racism on the part of police officers.
"The videotape of the incident was extremely disturbing. Unfortunately, Hispanics and African-Americans are often treated by the police more harshly than whites," Parish said. "The possible influence of racism in the decision to conduct a dangerous high-speed chase and on the actions of officers while taking suspects into custody needs to be part of the investigation."
The ACLU of Colorado acts as a watchdog in the area of police misconduct and encourages Coloradans to write the ACLU regarding such incidents (400 Corona Street, Denver, CO 80218).
The ACLU also distributes so-called "bust cards," wallet-sized cards in English and Spanish, detailing "What to Do If You Are Stopped by the Police." The cards are available upon request (303)777-5482. Further information regarding police misconduct is also available on the national ACLU Website (www.aclu.org).
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?
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 https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado
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.
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.
ACLU APPLAUDS SWIFT INVESTIGATION IN CAR CHASE BEATING
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