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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 SUIT OVER OUSTER FROM BUSH TOWN HALL MEETING

ACLU files suit over ouster from Bush town hall meeting

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2005

White House event staffers unlawfully removed two Denver residents from a town hall discussion with President Bush because of an anti-war bumper sticker on their car, charged the American Civil Liberties Union in a federal lawsuit filed today.

 

“The government should not be in the business of silencing Americans who are perceived to be critical of certain policy decisions,” said ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Chris Hansen, who is the lead counsel in this case. “The president should be willing to be in the same room with people who might disagree with him, especially at a public, taxpayer-funded town hall.”

 

Today’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Leslie Weise and Alex Young, who gained national attention after being removed from a March 21 event with President Bush. The presidential visit was open to the public and advertised as a town hall “conversation” on Social Security reform. But the ACLU lawsuit charges that Weise and Young, who had obtained tickets from the office of Representative Bob Beauprez and had caused no disruption at the town hall, were removed from the event solely because of their perceived political views.

 

After approaching the security metal detectors, Weise was asked to show her identification, while Young was allowed in. The staff at the event then told her that she had to wait for the Secret Service to arrive. Eventually, Michael Casper, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, arrived. He wore a dark suit, earpiece and lapel pin. He told Weise that she had been “ID’d” and that if she had any ill intentions she would be arrested. She assured him that she did not and was allowed to proceed to her seat, where Young was waiting.

 

According to the lawsuit, Casper consulted with other White House event staffers who advised him of a White House policy prohibiting people from attending this public event if they held a viewpoint other than that of the president. Casper then ran back to Weise and Young and forced them to leave.

 

After the incident, Secret Service confirmed to Weise and Young that they were removed because a White House event staffer noticed that Weise had a “No More Blood for Oil” bumper sticker on her car. Eight of the nine members of the Colorado congressional delegation, including Democrats and Republicans, have since publicly condemned what happened to Weise and Young, and have called for answers from the White House.

 

“What was supposed to be an historic opportunity for us to attend an event with a sitting president quickly turned into a humiliating and frightening experience,” Weise said. “We had every right to attend the president’s event, and have decided to fight back to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans.”

 

In addition to Casper, today’s lawsuit names Denver resident Jay Bob Klinkerman as a defendant, as well as five unidentified White House event staffers. Attorneys said that when they uncover the identities of those as-yet-unknown officials, they will be named in the lawsuit.

 

“We believe that our clients were expelled from this public meeting on the basis of a policy formulated in Washington and implemented throughout the country,” said Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado. “This case is not just about two people, it is about protecting the rights and liberties of every single American.”

 

The ACLU said that similar incidents have occurred at presidential visits across the country. According to news reports, individuals considered to have critical viewpoints were removed or excluded from Social Security town hall meetings in Arizona, North Dakota and New Hampshire.

 

Today’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. In addition to Hansen and Silverstein, attorneys in the case are Catherine Crump of the national ACLU and Martha Tierney and Jerremy Ramp of Denver-based law firm Kelly Haglund Garnsey & Kahn, who are acting as ACLU of Colorado cooperating attorneys.

 

Weise and Young have created their own web site with background information on the incident at: www.denverthree.org.

 



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