Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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. 

  • 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.

Are you qualified to be a Colorado license plate censor?

In these tough economic times, with so many Coloradans looking for work, who doesn’t dream of landing a cushy government job? One such position could be working as a censor for the Motor Vehicle Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The job description: determine whether proposed vanity plates should be approved or rejected.

The only criteria for your decisions: whether the proposed combination of letters and numbers
“carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”

Sounds easy, but it’s harder than you may think. Consider tofu. One Coloradan liked everyone’s favorite soy product enough to pay extra to proclaim her passion on a vanity plate. While “I love tofu” seems harmless enough, a vigilant Colorado DMV employee spotted a potential threat to public morals and averted near-disaster by rejecting the plate. If you had been on the job, would you have been as vigilant?

Being an official state censor requires a well-refined sensitivity to nuance and subtle distinctions. Consider the examples below. Each pair depicts a plate that veteran Colorado censors rejected as offensive to good taste and decency next to a very similar plate that was approved. If the distinction seems as mysterious to you as it does to us, you might need to look for a different line of work.

If you know which of the plates above were approved and which were banned, you're ready to play:

Who Wants To Be A Colorado DMV Censor?

In April of 2009, we requested lists of all plates, both approved and denied. The only stated criteria: whether the proposed combination of letters and numbers “carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.” The data, however, was puzzling.

TOOSEXY was rejected, but 2SEXY was approved. TOPLE55 was turned down, but TOPLESS was allowed. GANJA was denied, but PEYOTE was OK. See a pattern here? Neither did we.

Click here to see a list of our favorite pairings

Here are the complete lists of plates:

Accepted plates

Rejected plates

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