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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 the Aurora Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain’s Death

February 23, 2021

DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for ACLU of Colorado.

“The Aurora independent investigation report confirms in stark terms what the community has long understood: Aurora police killed Elijah McClain. Mr. McClain was the innocent victim of multiple violations of longstanding law that is supposed to limit the authority of law enforcement. Aurora police had no grounds to stop Mr. McClain in the first place. They had no grounds to put their hands on him. They had no legal justification for a pat-down frisk. They had no legal basis to force him to the ground. They had no adequate basis to direct paramedics to administer an excessive dose of ketamine into Mr. McClain’s system without his consent. As for the in-house “investigation” that exonerated the officers, which is more aptly labeled a coverup, the report explains that the Aurora police who investigated their colleagues asked the wrong question and fed suggested answers designed to elicit responses couched in “magic words” that fit with legal precedents.

This report uncovers what are undoubtedly deeply-embedded systemic failures of the Aurora police department — failures that surely would be uncovered in case after case after case if similar truly independent investigations were undertaken. This report cries out for a thorough and systematic overhaul of Aurora police practices, policies, training, and most importantly, the internal culture that has allowed the treatment that Mr. McClain experienced to be callously written off and normalized. It is not simply a report about what happened — it is a call for change. The family of Elijah McClain deserves justice. The community is calling for accountability. Aurora decision-makers cannot and must not ignore these calls.”

Read the full independent investigation report.

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ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.



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