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  • 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 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.

    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 Asks Denver Police Internal Affairs to Re-open Investigation Into Racial Profiling Incident

Today the ACLU of Colorado asked the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau to re-open its investigation into two African-American citizens’ complaints of racial profiling arising from a traffic stop on February 13, 2009.

Read the ACLU's letter to the IAB here.

The DPD concluded the complaint was “not substantiated,” but a Denver County Court Judge who heard testimony about the incident reached the opposite conclusion.  After a bench trial, the court dismissed the minor traffic charges and wrote that: “Police conduct was extreme, profane and racially motivated.”   The court further found that the ACLU’s clients were “unlawfully detained for an unreasonable time and without reasonable suspicion.”

Details of the incident are available here.

Upon reading the judge's stunning characterization of the officer's actions, The ACLU was forced to sue to obtain copies of the internal investigation file, which DPD refused to disclose on the grounds that it would be "contrary to the public interest." This was the sixth time the ACLU had sued over DPD's refusal to release information about allegations of police misconduct. The result was no different than any of the previous suits- ultimately the city released the files.

Read more about the open records lawsuit here.

The files revealed serious discrepancies between one officer's testimony to IAB and his statements under oath in Denver County Court. They are so distinctly different that it is clear the officer lied. We are calling on the IAB to re-open the investigation and add the euphemistic but nonetheless serious charge of "departing from the truth."



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