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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 George Brauchler’s Decision to Seek the Death Penalty in the Johnson Case

Statement of ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley:

“The ACLU of Colorado is disappointed by Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler’s decision to pursue the death penalty in yet another case, an outlier decision in direct contradiction to movement across Colorado and the rest of the country away from spending limited resources in the pursuit of death. The death penalty is expensive and arbitrary, and every costly trial perpetuates a broken, racially-biased system that can and does make irreversible mistakes.

Brauchler wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on the Aurora theater trial, a multi-million dollar failure that resulted in the same life sentence that was on the table all along.  Similarly, the defendant in this case has offered to enter a guilty plea and accept a sentence of life without parole, rendering a costly trial unnecessary.

Brauchler is once again seeking to put the 18th Judicial District of Colorado on the map for all the wrong reasons. Currently, Colorado’s death row is occupied exclusively by black men sentenced in the 18th Judicial District. If Brauchler secures a death sentence in this case, he will add yet another black man from the 18th Judicial District to the row.

According to a report released by the Death Penalty Information Center, just 2% of all US counties account for the vast majority of death sentences and executions in this country. Prosecutors all over the country have made the common-sense decision to stop throwing away millions on death cases and to start using those resources on programs that actually make their communities safer and ensure victims’ families have access to all the services they need.

Colorado can ensure the safety of the public, harshly punish killers, and spend limited resources wisely by putting those convicted of first-degree murder in prison for the rest of their lives with no possibility of parole.  It’s time to stop the political, tough-on-crime charade of the death penalty and to start talking about meaningful ways to prevent crime and better care for victims in the wake of violence.”



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