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  • 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: acluco.org/redemption. 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 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. 

ACLU files lawsuit challenging Colorado Springs No-Solicitation Zone

November 28, 2012

COLO. SPRINGS – Today ACLU of Colorado lawyers announced they filed a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court that seeks an immediate injunction against a sweeping “no solicitation zone” covering 12 city blocks of downtown Colorado Springs, including Acacia Park. The city council adopted the challenged ordinance yesterday, with enforcement to begin on December 2, 2012.

“City officials report that some panhandlers have been intimidating and harassing pedestrians,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “In an effort to purge these menacing panhandlers from downtown, the City has unjustifiably transformed our clients’ peaceful, non-threatening and constitutionally-protected communications into crimes. Instead of focusing narrowly on intrusive, menacing or coercive behaviors that invade the rights of others, Colorado Springs has banned any and all forms of ‘solicitation’ in a 12 city block swath of downtown. The First Amendment does not allow such a overbroad suppression of expression.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four organizations and four individuals, including:

  • Greenpeace and Pike’s Peak Justice and Peace Commission (PPJPC), two nonprofit advocacy organizations that want to carry out outreach and fundraising activities downtown
  • Star Bar Players, a nonprofit theater group that solicits pedestrians to buy tickets
  • The Denver Voice, which seeks to protect its right to dispatch newspaper hawkers to the downtown area
  • James Binder, a street musician who invites tips when he plays the flute on the downtown sidewalks
  • Ronald Marshall, a disabled Colorado Springs resident who parks his wheelchair on a sidewalk corner while asking politely for spare change
  • Laurel Elizabeth Clements Mosley and Roger Butts, who assert their right to receive the communications that the new ordinance will silence

“Our troupe uses a signboard and actor outreach outside our theater to sell tickets, which is illegal under the new no-solicitation ordinance,” said Beth Mosely, Star Bar Players Artistic Director. “As a struggling nonprofit that can’t afford traditional advertising, our financial survival depends on the ability to solicit pedestrians. Besides, street performers of all kinds contribute to a vibrant city culture and I want to be able to continue to enjoy and pay those downtown artists.”

The ACLU filed the suit in federal district court in Denver; it also filed a request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, along with a request for an expedited hearing. In addition to Silverstein, the plaintiffs are represented by ACLU staff attorneys Rebecca T. Wallace and Sara Rich.

For additional information and to read the complaint, click here.

Meet our clients who joined us in standing up for free speech in Colorado Springs.



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