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 of Colorado to Honor Harold Fields, Susan Greene, and Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network as 2017 Civil Rights Award Recipients

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado is proud to announce that Harold Fields, Susan Greene, and Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) will receive our 2017 Civil Rights Awards, which will be presented at the Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, September 28th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver.

Harold Fields, lifelong leader of social and racial justice causes, will be honored with the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award. Fields facilitates the Second Tuesday Race Forum, a city-wide monthly racial dialogue that has been continuously active since 1997.  He was a founder of Multi-Racial Families of Colorado and was the national training director for the documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.  He currently serves on the Board Trustees for The Denver Foundation and chairs the Community Impact Committee.     

“As a social justice advocate, Harold is an accomplished leader, locally and nationally, who brings people together for dialogue and healing,” said ACLU of Colorado Board Member Carolyn Love, PhD. “Harold goes above and beyond the call of duty by consistently showing up in spaces to ignite conversations about difference. He advances civil rights by creating spaces for people to understand the effects of hierarchy, separation, and injustice of all kinds and the resulting consequences. Harold facilitates the healing of wounds resulting from a history of racial intolerance and injustice.”

Susan Greene, editor of The Colorado Independent, will receive the Larry Tajiri Media Award in recognition of her outstanding media and journalism work to further civil rights and civil liberties in Colorado, including her investigative reporting on the trial, incarceration, and eventual exoneration of Clarence Moses-EL, her reporting on solitary confinement, and multiple other stories exposing corruption and injustice.

As we all know, the fight for civil rights isn’t just around big stories, but the daily infringements that happen in our public institutions,” said former ACLU of Colorado Board Member Mari Newman. “In addition to her coverage of the Marvin Booker and Michael Marshall cases, Susan has spent years covering issues of mistaken identity, malfeasance, cronyism, mismanagement, excessive force, increasing violence, cover-ups and lies in the Denver’s Sheriff’s Department and the people in the Safety Department and Mayor’s office who oversee it. No journalist has watchdogged Denver’s wayward jails better than Susan.”

Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) will be recognized with the Ralph Carr Award in honor of their essential immigrants’ rights advocacy, which includes offering free legal assistance to people being held in the Aurora ICE detention facility and to those arriving internationally through DIA, as well as providing Know Your Rights trainings and training lawyers to be ad-hoc immigration attorneys.

“RMIAN helped me obtain my residency for the United States as a student on a path for college. Being an undocumented immigrant draws an imaginary, but harsh boundary on your dreams. My dream to become a doctor – my whole life – abruptly stopped my senior year in high school. RMIAN not only helped erased the boundary, but returned the hope I had lost to become a doctor. RMIAN completely changed my life,” said a RMIAN client in their Children’s Program.

The 2017 Bill of Rights Dinner will feature a keynote presentation from Jeffery Robinson, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality, which houses the National ACLU’s work on criminal justice, racial justice, and reform issues. 

For more information about the event, purchasing tickets, or becoming a sponsor, please visit the event page or contact Rachel Pryor-Lease at 720-402-3105 or

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