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 to Honor Senator Mark Udall and Nita Gonzales as 2015 Civil Rights Award Recipients

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado is pleased to announce that Senator Mark Udall and civil rights activist Nita Gonzales have been selected to receive our 2015 Civil Rights Awards, which will be presented at the annual Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner on Thursday, October 8th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver.

Senator Udall will receive the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award in recognition of his accomplishments as a legislator in advancing and defending civil rights and civil liberties.

Nita Gonzales will receive the Ralph Carr Award recognizing her leadership and dedication in the struggle for social justice and racial equality.

Udall represented Colorado in the U.S. Congress for 16 years, including as a Member of the Senate from 2009 through 2015, where he was a staunch defender of the Bill of Rights and the civil liberties of all Americans. He led the bipartisan effort to rein in the National Security Administration’s dragnet collection of personal information and data, and he was one of the leading advocates for the public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study on the CIA’s brutal and ineffective detention and interrogation program.

“While others around him worked to increase surveillance and government intrusion, Senator Mark Udall led in Congress from a fundamental belief that Americans should never be asked to sacrifice their basic freedoms in the name of security,” said ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley. “We are extremely proud to honor Senator Udall as one of our country’s most ardent protectors of individual freedom and liberty.”

Gonzales is a nationally-recognized leader, educator, and community activist. She is President and CEO of Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, an internationally-renowned model for Chicano/Mexicano and indigenous education located in Denver. Escuela Tlatelolco provides culturally competent and socially conscious education to predominantly Latino youth. Gonzales also has a long record of supporting causes and organizations that promote the economic, political, social, and educational strength of Latinos and underserved populations in Colorado and throughout the country.

“Countless community activists of all ages have been directly influenced by the dynamic social justice advocacy of Nita Gonzales,” said ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes. “It is our honor to recognize Nita as an educator and a leader who has dedicated her life to strengthening and empowering her community.”

The Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner will feature a keynote presentation from Alex Abdo, an ACLU Staff Attorney in the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project who last year argued a successful challenge to the NSA’s phone-records program in Federal Court.

We would like to also announce and thank our Presenting Sponsors Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor and our Circle of Liberty Sponsors Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.

For more information about the event, purchasing tickets, or becoming a sponsor, please contact Rachel Pryor-Lease at 720-402-3105 or

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