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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 of Colorado statement on schools banning personal displays of flags

In response to questions prompted by recent decisions of some school administrators to ban the display of flags and other expressive symbols, ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein made the following statement:

Students have a right of expression that includes the right to express their views on the controversies of their times, and they can do so through symbols as well as words. Students’ right of expression in public schools should be given as much room as possible. Thus, instead of restricting expression, school officials should encourage students to reflect, to analyze, and to express their views. Schools should also teach students how to grapple appropriately with controversial issues and with persons who hold opposing views.

School administrators should be required to justify any restrictions on students’ right of expression by pointing to specific facts that show that restrictions are necessary to ensure students’ safety or to prevent disruption of classes. In the ACLU’s view, many schools are too quick to restrict students’ right of expression. Unfortunately, federal courts interpreting the First Amendment tend to defer too much to school officials who claim a need to restrict students speech.

A Colorado statute guarantees the right to display the American flag “on an individual’s person.” Thus, even if a court finds that a “no flags” rule is consistent with the First Amendment, such a rule violates Colorado law. The Colorado statute, however, applies only to American flags, which raises another constitutional issue. The Constitution prohibits what the case law calls “viewpoint discrimination.” This means that the government cannot silence one side of a debate while allowing speakers who favor an opposing viewpoint. Thus, to the extent that personal display of American or Mexican flags now symbolizes opposing views on the current national debate about immigration issues, the Colorado statute cannot constitutionally protect the right of students to display the American flag while allowing a school to ban the display of a different flag.



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