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 Calls for Academy to Rescind Invite to “Member of Lord’s Army”

The ACLU of Colorado, and other activists for religious freedom, are calling on the United States Air Force Academy' to withdraw its inviation to fomer Marine Lt.  Clebe McClary, a self-professed "Member of the Lord's Army," who is scheduled to speak at the USAFA's February 10 National Prayer Luncheon.

In a letter to Lt. Col. Gould of the USAFA, C. Ray Drew, Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado, wrote, "The ACLU has no wish to to limit Lt. McClary's feedom of speech in an off-campus setting. However, we are gravely concerned about his presentation at a government sponsored religious event where military personnel and cadets will be subjected to a clear endorsement of one religiion. The fact the event invitation was sent by senior leadership at the Academy is troubling as well. …

"Government sponsored religious events such as the prayer breakfast are problematic , and are strictly out of bounds if the intent or effect is to proselytize the military audience. We endorse Michael Weinstein's letter of of January 20, 2011 as well as the issues and principles included in the letter by Jeremy Shaver of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. We believe the Academy certainly can find a more appropriate speaker for the luncheon than Lt. Clebe McClary, with his description of a complete Marine:  "USMC will always mean a U.S. Marine for Christ."

"The ACLU strongly supports religious freedom for all members of the military, but not at the expense of demanding allegiance of all to one government-endorsed faith or denomination. … We look forward to a quick resolution of this issue."

Return to News