Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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. 

  • 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 of Colorado Names Cathryn Hazouri as Executive Director

Nov 13, 2003

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU) announced today that it has named Cathryn Hazouri as its Executive Director. Ms. Hazouri will lead the ACLU of Colorado during a critical time in which core civil liberties are threatened.

Ms. Hazouri is the former President of the Boulder Valley Women's Health Center and served as the President of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. She was appointed by the Colorado Supreme Court to serve on its Committee on Access to the Courts and currently serves on the Supreme Court's Judicial Performance Commission. She has most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Boulder County Treasurer, where she has focused on the special needs of the elderly in that community. A former high school English teacher, Ms. Hazouri practiced law for twenty years in various firms in Colorado before closing her law practice early last year.

Ms. Hazouri will assume the helm of the ACLU of Colorado in early December. The ACLU of Colorado's membership has doubled since the United States Congress passed the US PATRIOT Act in October 2001, which is regarded by many as the greatest attack on civil liberties in this generation. The ACLU recently prevailed on the City of Denver to change its policies and practices in what has been widely termed the "Spy Files" case, a landmark lawsuit challenging the Denver Police Department's practice of monitoring and recording the peaceful protest activities of Denver-area residents and keeping criminal intelligence files on the expressive activities of law-abiding advocacy groups, some of which were falsely labeled as "criminal extremist."

"Our first-rate search committee found a first-rate Executive Director" said Vince DeGarlais, Chair of the ACLU of Colorado Board of Directors. "Ms. Hazouri has the proven vision, leadership, passion, intelligence and management skills to ensure that the ACLU of Colorado will continue to grow and flourish as the pre-eminent legal defense fund, advocacy and educational organization for the Bill of Rights."

"I am honored to join the Colorado ACLU as it continues its vital role in our state. The ACLU is the bedrock of democracy and every American who believes in the Bill of Rights should be a card-carrying member. This is an exciting time – a time when vigilance is more important than ever. We must be both safe and free." Hazouri said.

Ms. Hazouri will succeed Katherine Pease, who has served as Interim Executive Director during the period that the ACLU of Colorado conducted a broad and far-reaching national search to fill the position. According to Ms. Pease, "I am so pleased that Ms. Hazouri will be stepping in as the new Executive Director of the ACLU and hope that her experience with the organization will be as enriching for her as it has been for me. The ACLU will undoubtedly benefit greatly from her tremendous experience and talents."

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