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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 Seeks Information about Death of Iranian Man at ICE Detention Facility

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this morning seeking records related to the arrest, detention, and subsequent death of Kamyar Samimi, an Iranian man who died earlier this month while in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a for-profit detention center operated by GEO Group, Inc.

On December 4, ICE issued a brief news release announcing Samimi’s death. According to ICE, Samimi fell ill the morning of December 2 and was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m., with the preliminary cause listed as cardiac arrest.

“Once again, a death in ICE custody raises serious questions about whether the agency is continuing to fail in its legal duty to provide necessary and adequate medical care to detainees in its custody,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

In February 2016, the ACLU co-authored a report, Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignored Deaths in Detention, which concluded that ICE’s “failure to provide adequate medical care has continued to result in unnecessary deaths.”

Since 2003, 177 immigrant detainees have died while in custody in ICE facilities, including 12 deaths in the last year. Last spring, a Human Rights Watch report found “serious lapses in health care that have led to severe suffering and at times the preventable or premature death of individuals held in immigration detention facilities.”

“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,” Silverstein said. “We are invoking the Freedom of Information Act to further the public’s right to know what goes on in these secretive taxpayer-funded institutions.”

Samimi came to the United States as a student in 1976. According to ICE’s statement, agents arrested him at his home on November 17, due to a minor 2005 drug conviction for which he served no time and completed community service.

“Mr. Samimi’s arrest, detention, and death in custody display the inhumanity of our current federal immigration policies,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian. “He lived in the US for 40 years. ICE arrested him at his home with the intent to ship him off to a country he no longer knew. Then, they locked him up in a detention facility, where he died two weeks later. ICE gave very little detail about what happened but made sure to mention his 12-year-old drug possession charge. The community deserves better, and that starts with ICE explaining what led to Mr. Samimi’s tragic death.”

Resources:

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

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

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