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.

    Donate now at

  • 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. 


After ACLU Enters Case, Colorado Springs Drops Effort to Obtain Gag Order Against Weekly Newspaper


November 8, 2002

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU) reported success today in stopping the City of Colorado Springs from obtaining a court order that would have prevented the Colorado Springs Independent from publishing information about a Colorado Springs police officer.


Citing the First Amendment right of a newspaper to publish information lawfully obtained about matters of public concern, the ACLU announced yesterday morning that its lawyers would represent the weekly newspaper in a hearing that was scheduled for today. In the hearing, a Colorado state court judge was to decide whether to grant the City's request for an order prohibiting the paper from publishing certain information it had obtained from the City's files.


Within hours after the ACLU announced its entry in the case (and shortly after the ACLU filed its brief), the City canceled the hearing and told the ACLU that it would withdraw its legal action against the newspaper. "We are very pleased that the City has recognized and acknowledged that it cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, prohibit the Colorado Springs Independent from publishing information its staff members lawfully obtained by going to City Hall, identifying themselves as reporters, and taking notes on a file they were given to review," said Steve Zansberg, of Faegre & Benson, who wrote the ACLU brief that was filed yesterday.


"Now we can continue working on our investigative article without the distraction of this groundless lawsuit," said Cara DeGette, editor of the Independent.


"The City of Colorado Springs should have known from the start that the First Amendment prohibits the gag order that it requested in this case," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "We are pleased that the City has seen the light and dropped its lawsuit against the Colorado Springs Independent."


The controversy began last week when DeGette and Independent reporter John Dicker went to City Hall and requested documents about the job performance of Detective Jeffrey Huddleston, in connection with their planned investigative article intended to raise issues of police accountability in Colorado Springs.


According to the City's lawsuit, a temporary clerk made a mistake by turning over the full personnel file. A supervisor eventually realized the mistake and retrieved the file, but Dicker had already taken notes, which he declined to surrender. The City filed its lawsuit and request for court order the next day.


With the threat of court-ordered suppression lifted, the Independent's article is expected to appear in an upcoming edition, which will be available on the web at

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