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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 Sues ICE for Information about Death of Iranian Man at Detention Facility 

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit this morning seeking previously requested records related to the arrest, detention, and subsequent death of Kamyar Samimi, an Iranian man who died on December 2, 2017 while in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a for-profit detention center operated by GEO Group, Inc.

Mr. Samimi came to the United States as a student in 1976 and became a Legal Permanent Resident in 1978. ICE agents arrested him at his home on November 17, 2017 and kept him in ICE detention, where he died 15 days later. ICE still has not provided a thorough explanation as to what caused Mr. Samimi’s death. Meanwhile, multiple recent reports and complaints have highlighted concerns about medical care in ICE detention.

“It has now been sixteen months since Mr. Samimi died, and ICE continues to keep the community in the dark about this tragedy,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian. “All we know is that ICE arrested a man who had lived in the U.S. for over four decades, and 15 days later he died in ICE’s care. The public deserves to know more and this lawsuit seeks that information.”

The ACLU of Colorado filed its first Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on December 20, 2017. In response, ICE produced only five pages, which had nothing to do with Mr. Samimi’s death. The ACLU of Colorado appealed and ICE responded on July 3, 2018, stating that its investigation of Mr. Samimi’s death had been completed and more documents would be forthcoming. But ICE has not produced any additional documents, nor has it indicated when it might be doing so.  

“Immigration detention facilities, like the one operated by GEO Group in Aurora, are all too often cloaked in secrecy, offering little to no transparency into the way detainees are treated within their walls,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “We are filing suit to further the public’s right to know what goes on in these secretive taxpayer-funded institutions.”

Resources:

View the FOIA request:

https://aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/2017-12-20-ICE-Jahanian-FOIA-records-request.pdf

Human Rights Watch Report (5/17): Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention

ACLU Report (2/16): Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignored Deaths in Detention

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The 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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