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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 Suit for Records Illegally Denied by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

8/24/16

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today challenging a practice by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of withholding documents, without legal justification, that immigration lawyers require to advocate for clients that the agency deems to be “fugitives.”

“The Freedom of Information Act lists nine and only nine possible grounds an agency may rely on to withhold documents from disclosure,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.  “ICE has invented an additional reason for nondisclosure that cannot be found anywhere in the statute.  Accordingly, the agency’s refusal to disclose documents violates the law.”

Jennifer Smith, an immigration attorney, filed a FOIA request to U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) for records related to the immigration status of one of her clients.  Immigration attorneys have limited discovery options and can generally gain access to a client’s immigration file only by filing a FOIA request.

USCIS identified a set of documents as responsive and referred the request to ICE, which refused to release the documents.   Instead of relying on one of the statutory exemptions, ICE asserted that Ms. Smith’s client was a “fugitive.” In such cases, the agency wrote, it was ICE’s “practice” to deny access to the FOIA process.

The Freedom of Information Act requires federal agencies to promptly provide responsive documents to any person who requests them.  An agency may only deny a FOIA request based on one or more of nine stated exemptions in the law.  In this case, ICE did not provide Smith any legal justification based on the exemptions for denying access to her client’s immigration file.

The ACLU lawsuit seeks release of the files that were denied to Smith, as well as an end to ICE’s practice of denying records based on a justification that has no basis in law.

Smith is represented by Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Sara Neel and ACLU Cooperating Attorney Daniel J. Culhane of Daniel J. Culhane LLC.

View the ACLU of Colorado complaint: https://aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1-Complaint-082416.pdf



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