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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 of Colorado Statement on Denver’s New Park Banishment Directive

9/1/16

DENVER – Yesterday, Denver officials announced a new directive empowering police to unilaterally ban people from public parks based on an accusation of perceived drug use.  According to the directive, a person does not need to be charged, tried, or convicted of any crime for a ban notice, which is punishable by jail if violated, to be issued.  

ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:

“Denver’s park banishment directive is an unacceptable end run around the Constitution.  There are already laws on the books to deal with illegal drug use. Those laws guarantee due process and basic civil liberties protections against potential abuse. The park banishment directive, which is not authorized by statute or code, empowers police to banish people from public parks based only on an officer’s accusation and nothing more.  The banishment takes effect immediately, with no opportunity, other than a possible appeal down the line, to rebut or contest the officer’s accusation. That is a backwards approach, and it contradicts even the most rudimentary understanding of due process and how the law is supposed to work.

“After months of constant and continuous sweeps, unaccountable private security policing the public 16th St. Mall, and increased use of various ordinances to push people who are homeless and living in poverty out of public spaces, this administration cannot be afforded the benefit of the doubt to now administer an unchecked banishment program. The only conclusion that can be drawn, given this administration’s policing-first crackdown over the last several months, is that this directive will be another in a long line of questionable tactics used by the city under the auspices of ‘perceptions of safety’ to selectively target, harass, and drive out people who are homeless and have nowhere else to go.”

Resources:

ACLU Demands Accountability for Misuse of Donated Funds to Pay for Homeless Sweeps

ACLU Opposes the Use of Private Contractors to Perform Police Actions on the 16th St. Mall

Statement of ACLU of Colorado on Downtown Denver Homeless Sweeps

 



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