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  • 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. 

  • 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 Will Defend Fort Collins Man Who Was a Victim of Selective Enforcement of City’s Anti-Homeless Camping Ban

November 1, 2018

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado announced this morning that it will represent Adam Wiemold, a homeless man who was charged with illegal “camping” by Fort Collins police for sleeping in his vehicle at a designated rest area where truck drivers regularly sleep in their vehicles undisturbed by police.

“At the rest stop, Fort Collins police harass and ticket homeless people for sleeping in their cars, while leaving commercial truckers alone to sleep soundly through the night,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “This kind of selective enforcement is the essence of criminalizing homelessness.”

The Fort Collins citywide anti-camping ordinance forbids sleeping in public spaces, including inside a person’s own legally-parked vehicle. Wiemold lives out of his vehicle due to high housing costs in Fort Collins.

“I sleep in my vehicle because, even with a full-time job, I just don’t make enough money to pay my bills and pay rent,” said Weimold. “It shouldn’t be a crime to be homeless or to simply sleep. But, in Fort Collins, it is.”

In September, a federal court of appeals ruled that the Constitution forbids cities from prosecuting homeless persons for sleeping in public places when they have no alternative. In his job at a local nonprofit, Wiemold works in a supervisory role with clients in the unhoused community. Because sleeping in a shelter with clients poses unacceptable boundary issues, he has no choice but to sleep in public spaces.

According to the city prosecutor who spoke with Wiemold, Fort Collins police have recently ramped up enforcement of the camping ban to remove “undesirables” from the rest area just off of Interstate I-25.  The rest area has separate sections for cars and commercial trucks. Police are issuing “camping” citations to homeless individuals for sleeping in their cars, while ignoring the same conduct by truckers.

ACLU of Colorado recently filed a request under Colorado’s open record laws for the memorandum providing official guidance to police regarding enforcement of the camping ban. The request was denied, with city officials claiming that disclosure would be “contrary to the public interest.”

“Fort Collins has a legal obligation to disclose the official police memo that guides its officers in how they enforce the controversial ordinance that makes it a crime to sleep in public spaces,” Silverstein said. “If Fort Collins refuses to reconsider, the City risks seeing us in court on that issue, too.”

ACLU Cooperating Counsel Adam Frank, of Frank & Salahuddin LLC, will enter his appearance on behalf of Wiemold in Fort Collins Municipal Court later today.

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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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