Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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: 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.

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  • 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 Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

December 10, 2020

Seguido en español.

DENVER – ACLU of Colorado announced today a $285,000 settlement on behalf of Jamie Alberto Torres Soto, a Latino man who was illegally ordered out of his home and unjustifiably beaten by Aurora Police officers who were called to investigate a noise complaint. The lawsuit detailed not only a vicious attack on Mr. Torres but a widespread pattern of racially biased policing in Aurora with little accountability.

“While the size of Mr. Torres’ settlement suggests the significance of the wrongdoing in this case, it does not begin to serve justice,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. “To this day, Mr. Torres suffers physically and emotionally from that incident, and racialized police violence in Aurora has continued unabated. David Baker, The Gilliam Family, Elijah McClain and many more people of color have all been harmed at the hands of Aurora Police.”

The lawsuit alleged that officers illegally ordered Mr. Torres to exit his own garage, and subsequently brutalized him when he delayed leaving and waited for his wife to arrive in order to translate. When threatened with arrest, Mr. Torres complied with the illegal order and exited his garage. Nonetheless, Aurora officers immediately placed Mr. Torres in a painful twist lock and slammed him to the ground, while Mr. Torres screamed in pain. Also recognized in the lawsuit was Aurora PD’s attempt to cover up their unconstitutional behavior by charging Mr.Torres for resisting arrest. Their claims proved unfounded by video evidence, and a jury acquitted Mr.Torres of those charges.

Racially biased policing is a long-standing and common event in Aurora. The city ranks 8th out of the 100 largest cities in the U.S. for police killings per capita, and the Aurora Police Department kills Black people at four times the rate of white people. Aurora Police have used pepper spray, police dogs, Tasers and other weapons and force against Black and Latino people disproportionately to white people despite data showing that people of color in Aurora are no more likely to injure police than white people during an arrest. The ACLU complaint identified 13 incidents in which Aurora police have subjected people of color to unjustified violence, brutality, detention, and arrest even in cases when the victim was only suspected of a minor infraction.

“What happened to Mr. Torres is emblematic of what happens to people of color time and again in Aurora,” said ACLU Cooperating Attorney Mari Newman of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. “Mr. Torres was abused by Aurora police when he was beaten and again when they tried to silence him and cover up their wrong doing. In order to address the Aurora PD’s epidemic of violence against communities of color we must continue to hold them accountable.”

The ACLU of Colorado legal team includes Mark Silverstein, Rebecca Wallace, and ACLU cooperating attorneys Mari Newman and Andrew McNulty of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.


Racialized Policing in Aurora Map

“It Doesn’t Have to be This Way, Racialized Policing in Aurora” Video

For more on our racial justice work go to:


 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.


ACLU Resuelve el Caso con Aurora Después de que la Policía Brutalizo y Arresto Ilegalmente a Alberto Torres

DENVER – ACLU de Colorado anunció hoy un acuerdo de $285,000 en nombre de Jamie Alberto Torres Soto, un hombre latino al que se le ordenó ilegalmente salir de su casa y fue golpeado injustificadamente por agentes de la Policía de Aurora que fueron llamados para investigar una denuncia de ruido. La demanda detalló no solo un ataque cruel contra el Sr. Torres, sino un patrón generalizado de vigilancia policial con prejuicios raciales en Aurora con poca responsabilidad.

“Si bien el tamaño del acuerdo del Sr. Torres sugiere la importancia de la infracción en este caso, no comienza a servir a la justicia”, dijo Mark Silverstein, director legal de la ACLU de Colorado. “Hasta el día de hoy, el Sr. Torres sufre física y emocionalmente por ese incidente, y la violencia policial racializada en Aurora ha continuado sin cesar. David Baker, la familia Gilliam, Elijah McClain y muchas más personas de color han sido perjudicadas a manos de la policía de Aurora.”

La demanda alegaba que los agentes ordenaron ilegalmente al Sr. Torres que saliera de su propio garaje, y posteriormente lo brutalizaron cuando retrasó la salida y esperó a que llegara su esposa para poder traducir. Cuando se le amenazó con arrestarlo, el Sr. Torres cumplió con la orden ilegal y salió de su garaje. No obstante, los oficiales de Aurora inmediatamente colocaron al Sr. Torres en un doloroso cerrojo giratorio y lo tiraron al suelo, mientras que el Sr. Torres gritaba en dolor. También se reconoció en la demanda el intento de Aurora PD de encubrir su comportamiento inconstitucional acusando al Sr. Torres por resistirse al arresto. Sus afirmaciones resultaron infundadas por las pruebas de video, y un jurado absolvió al Sr. Torres de esos cargos.

La vigilancia policial con prejuicios raciales es un evento común y de larga data en Aurora. La ciudad ocupa el octavo lugar entre las 100 ciudades más grandes de los EE. UU. Por asesinatos policiales por cápita, y el Departamento de Policía de Aurora mata a personas Afroamericano cuatro veces más que a personas blancas. La policía de Aurora ha usado gas pimienta, perros policía, pistolas Taser y otras armas y fuerza contra personas Afroamericano y Latinas de manera desproporcionada a las personas blancas a pesar de que los datos muestran que las personas de color en Aurora no tienen más probabilidades de herir a la policía que las personas blancas durante un arresto. La denuncia de la ACLU identificó 13 incidentes en los que la policía de Aurora sometió a personas de color a violencia injustificada, brutalidad, detención y arresto incluso en casos en los que la víctima solo era sospechosa de una infracción menor.

“Lo que le sucedió al Sr. Torres es emblemático de lo que les sucede a las personas de color una y otra vez en Aurora”, dijo la abogada cooperante de ACLU, Mari Newman de Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. “Sr. Torres fue abusado por la policía de Aurora cuando lo golpearon y nuevamente cuando intentaron silenciarlo y encubrir sus malas acciones. Para hacer frente a la epidemia de violencia del Departamento de Policía de Aurora contra las comunidades de color, debemos seguir haciéndoles responsables.”

El equipo legal de la ACLU de Colorado incluye a Mark Silverstein, Rebecca Wallace y los abogados colaboradores de la ACLU, Mari Newman y Andrew McNulty de Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP.


Racializado mantenimeinto del orden por la policia en Aurora, mapa: 

“No tiene por qué ser así, la policía racializada en Aurora,” vídeo:

Para más información sobre la justicia racial, vaya a:


La ACLU de Colorado es la organización de derechos civiles más antigua del estado, que protege y defiende los derechos civiles de todos los habitantes de Colorado a través del litigio, la educación y la defensa.

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