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 Demands Denver Release Booker Videotape

For Immediate Release
April 25, 2011
Contact: Rosemary Harris Lytle, Communications Director
303.777.5482, ext. 111 (office) 719.233.0243 (cell)

The ACLU of Colorado today filed a written request with the office of Denver Department of Safety Manager Charles Garcia to release video footage, documenting the death of Marvin L. Booker, the street preacher who died July 9, 2010 while in custody at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center.

The request, filed pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act and the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, seeks all videotaped footage, depicting Mr. Booker’s interaction with Denver sheriff’s personnel on that evening.

Though Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrisey ruled September 28, 2010 that the force used by sheriff’s deputies was justified and no criminal charges would be filed against those involved in the death of Mr. Booker, the city has never released the videotape footage which formed the basis of that decision.

“The video footage recorded on jail cameras is directly referenced five times in the District Attorney’s Decision Statement, and indirectly referenced many more times throughout the document. Still, the city has continued to refuse the public’s requests for the video release,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “If it is the video footage that helped the District Attorney reach the decision that no criminal charges should be filed in Mr. Booker’s death, the ACLU believes that the residents of Denver have a right to see that same footage.”

The written request from the ACLU also references the city’s pending administrative investigation. But Silverstein said the release of the video footage could not possibly prejudice that administrative investigation.

“All the witnesses have been interviewed. Those who must make the decisions now will rely on their own evaluations of the evidence. But it has been nine months since Mr. Booker’s life ended in that jail. It’s unconscionable that the public has been kept in the dark this long. Everyone agrees that only the videotapes can show us what happened that evening.”

At an ACLU Mayoral Candidates Police Accountability Forum April 7, each of the eight candidates present said that if elected Mayor of Denver she or he would support the release of the videotape footage in Mr. Booker’s death. “We are calling on those who are currently in leadership in the city – Mayor Bill Vidal and Public Safety Manager Garcia – to do no less than immediately approve the release of the tapes,” Silverstein said.

To view the forum, and see how candidates answered questions about police discipline and restoring trust in Denver’s police departments, click on this link:

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