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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 Defends Francisco Reina And Sues To Challenge Craig

CONTACT: Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303-777-5482 x114

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) filed suit against the City of Craig in Moffat County District Court late Monday afternoon, asking the court to declare that a provision of the Craig City Charter violates the First Amendment and cannot be enforced. The Charter forbids candidates for city posts to spend more than $500 on their campaigns. The ACLU filed the legal action on behalf of Francisco Reina, who ran unsuccessfully for Craig City Council in April, 2009.  Reina faces a criminal charge of violating the spending limit and is set to appear in Craig Municipal Court on Wednesday morning June 17.

“The First Amendment right of free expression protects the right of candidates for public office to spend their own money to promote their views and inform the public about their candidacy,” said Ed Ramey, an ACLU Cooperating Attorney who filed the legal challenge.

Reina spent approximately $1500 of his own money on his unsuccessful campaign.  City Attorney Kenneth Wohl initially said he did not believe that a prosecution was warranted. The City Council, however, voted 6-0 May 26 to “recommend” that Reina be prosecuted, and he was promptly served with a summons. Violation of the city charter is a misdemeanor carrying a potential punishment of a fine up to $1000 and up to 180 days in jail.

About the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the principles of the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy and public education.  The ACLU Foundation of Colorado works to protect the rights of all Coloradans.



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