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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 SUES DEA, CBI, FOR ILLEGAL ARMED HOME INVASION, FALSE IMPRISONMENT

ACLU Sues DEA, CBI for Illegal Armed Home Invasion, False Imprisonment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 20, 2002

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU) filed suit today alleging that agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) violated the constitutional rights of a Pueblo family by conducting an illegal SWAT-type raid on the family's home with no warrant or other legal authority.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Dan and Rosa Unis and their two college-aged sons, states that on August 19, 2000, the family was peacefuly enjoying the privacy of their home when "black-masked, black-helmeted men brandishing automatic weaons and wearing all-black uniforms with no insignias suddenly burst into the house unannounced, kicked the family's dog across the floor, ordered the entire family to 'get on the fucking floor,' held them at gunpoint, searched the house, found no drugs or contraband, but nevertheless carted off the family's two sons, Dave and Marcos, and imprisoned them illegally and without charges."

The lawsuit states that the young men, age 19 and 22 at the time, spent two days in jail and then were released — without charges, explanation, or apology.

"Once again the War on Drugs misses the target and instead scores a direct hit on the Constitution," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "These government agents had no search warrant, no arrest warrant, and no lawful authority whatsoever. They carried out this armed home invasion in flagrant disregard of the Fourth Amendment, which forbids unreasonable searches and arrests without probable cause."

According to the lawsuit, DEA agent Dave Saunders told the Unis family that CBI agent Pat A. Crouch was "in charge of this operation," which the ACLU says was carried out by the Southern Colorado Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional agency composed of officers from the Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo Sheriff's Department as well as the CBI and the DEA. The Defendants in the lawsuit include Crouch and Saunders as well as several as-yet-unidentified officers of unknown law enforcement agencies.

The suit, Unis v. Crouch, was filed in United States District Court in Denver.



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