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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 Files Brief at Supreme Court Arguing That Businesses Open to Public Cannot Discriminate Against Customers

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union today filed its brief in the Supreme Court in a case in which a Colorado bakery refused to serve a same-sex couple seeking a cake for their wedding reception.

The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, will be heard at the Supreme Court on December 5th.

The Colorado courts found that the bakery violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to serve Charlie Craig and David Mullins when they walked into the bakery in July 2012 to inquire about cakes for their wedding reception. In its brief, the ACLU argues that the First Amendment does not give a business open to the public the right to discriminate against its customers in violation of state law.

“As a nation and as a state, we decided decades ago that businesses that are open to the public should be open to everyone on the same terms,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “A ruling allowing discrimination in this case would have implications far beyond LGBT people.  It would put in jeopardy longstanding protections against discrimination here in Colorado and across the country.”

Under Colorado law, businesses open to the public like Masterpiece Cakeshop may not refuse service based on factors including race, religion, or sexual orientation. After lower courts ruled in Mullins and Craig’s favor, the bakery requested that the Supreme Court review the case.

“This is not about the cake. Charlie and David walked into the cake shop and were turned away because of who they are,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. “The stakes could not be higher. A ruling against them at the Supreme Court would not just encourage other businesses to engage in discriminatory practices: It would enshrine a constitutional right to discriminate.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Colorado, and the Denver firm King & Greisen represent Mullins and Craig in the case.

Resources:

Read the ACLU brief: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/craig-and-mullins-v-masterpiece-cakeshop-brief-respondents-charlie-craig-and-david

Visit the case page: https://www.aclu.org/cases/charlie-craig-and-david-mullins-v-masterpiece-cakeshop

 



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