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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 Wins Dismissal of Hundreds of Panhandling Charges in Colorado Springs

11/2/2015

DENVER – The City of Colorado Springs informed the ACLU of Colorado by letter last Friday that it is dismissing charges, vacating outstanding fines and sentencing requirements, and voiding warrants in 375 active panhandling-related cases.

The announcement was a response to an ACLU letter from September 15th informing the City that the police department, city attorney’s office, and Municipal Court had been illegally enforcing the City’s panhandling laws against homeless and impoverished people who had not violated those laws.

ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein issued the following statement:

“We appreciate the City Attorney’s prompt, thorough, and positive response to the ACLU’s reporting that homeless and impoverished individuals had been inappropriately cited, prosecuted, and sentenced for violating panhandling laws that they didn’t actually violate.

“The City’s two panhandling ordinances specifically exempt individuals who engage in passive solicitation—meaning that people who merely display a sign inviting charity do not violate the ordinances.  Nevertheless, an ACLU investigation found that all three major arms of the Colorado Springs municipal justice system – police, prosecutors, and judges – had routinely enforced the ordinances against people who engage in only passive solicitation. The City’s practice had resulted in poor people being fined and imprisoned – for as much as 90 days – under circumstances that could not be legally or morally justified.

“In addition to re-training police, the City has appropriately taken corrective action with regard to hundreds of pending cases by quashing warrants, dismissing prosecutions, and vacating pending fines and sentences of probation.”

Resources:

Read: Colorado Springs Targets Impoverished People through Unfair, Discriminatory, and Illegal Enforcement of Panhandling Laws

Read the City’s response letter from Oct. 30: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Letter-from-Colorado-Springs-City-Attorney.pdf

Visit the ACLU of Colorado case page: https://aclu-co.org/court-cases/colorado-springs-unlawful-enforcement-of-panhandling-laws/

Visit the ACLU of Colorado Criminalization of Homelessness campaign page: https://aclu-co.org/category/campaign-issues/criminalization-of-homelessness-campaign-issues/

 



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