• 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. 

Racial Justice

What’s At Stake?

Deep-seated systemic racism and inequities that disadvantaged communities of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions today — from education and housing to our criminal legal system.  Systemic racism permeates the starkly segregated world of housing. In our public schools, students of color are too often confined to racially isolated, underfunded, and inferior programs. Our criminal legal system disproportionately targets and subjects people of color to police brutality, incarcerates and imposes numerous collateral consequences, and criminalizes poverty. The dream of equal justice remains an elusive one. 

ACLU of Colorado works to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied them on the basis of race. 

The ACLU of Colorado seeks to educate and organize Coloradans on the racial injustices that stand in the way of a fair and equal society, that result in mass incarceration and over-criminalization of communities of color by:  

  • Centering the voices of impacted communities 
  • Building trust in the ACLU of Colorado with youth and in impacted communities to create leaders 
  • Continuing to build our base of supporters and members
  • Activating current members and supporters to identify with and champion our policy and legal priorities   

We are committed to upholding racial equity and combating racism in all forms through litigation, community organizing and training, legislative initiatives, and public education to address the broad spectrum of issues that disproportionately and negatively impact people of color.


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

Send a Message to Aurora City Council 

Interactive Map of Racialized Policing in Aurora 


The Latest

In the News


Recent Legislation

SB20-217: Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity 

Bill Number: SB20-217 

Year: 2020 

ACLU Position: Support 

Sponsors: Sen. L. Garcia | Sen. R. Fields | Rep. L. Herod | Rep. S. Gonzales-Gutierrez 

Current Status:

  • 06/19/2020 – Governor Signed 
  • 06/19/2020 – Signed by the Speaker of the House 
  • 06/19/2020 – Sent to the Governor 
  • 06/18/2020 – Signed by the President of the Senate 
  • 06/13/2020 – Senate Considered House Amendments – Result was to Concur –Repass 
  • 06/12/2020 – House Third Reading Passed – No Amendments 
  • 06/11/2020 – House Committee on Appropriations Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole 
  • 06/11/2020 – House Second Reading Special Order – Passed with Amendments -Committee, Floor 
  • 06/10/2020 – House Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations 
  • 06/09/2020 – Introduced in House – Assigned to Finance + Appropriations 
  • 06/09/2020 – Senate Third Reading Passed with Amendments – Floor 
  • 06/08/2020 – Senate Second Reading Special Order – Passed with Amendments – Committee, Floor 
  • 06/06/2020 – Senate Committee on Appropriations Refer Unamended to Senate Committee of the Whole 
  • 06/04/2020 – Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Refer Amended to Appropriations 
  • 06/03/2020 – Introduced in Senate – Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 


HB20-1048: Race Trait Hairstyle Anti-Discrimination Project (CROWN Act) 

Bill Number: HB20-1048 

Year: 2020 

ACLU Position: Support 

Sponsors: J. Buckner / L. Herod /R. Fields   


The bill specifies that, for purposes of anti-discrimination laws in
the context of public education, employment practices, housing, public
accommodations, and advertising, protections against discrimination on
the basis of one’s race includes traits historically associated with race,
such as hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.  

Current Status: 

  • Governor Signed (03/06/2020)
  • Sent to the Governor (03/06/2020)
  • Senate Third Reading Passed – No Amendments (02/28/20)
  • Senate Second Reading Passed – No Amendments (02/27/20)
  • Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Refer Unamended to
  • Senate Committee of the Whole (02/24/20)
  • House Third Reading Laid Over Daily – No Amendments (02/11/20)
  • House Committee on Business Affairs & Labor Refer Unamended to House
  • Committee of the Whole (02/05/20)
  • Introduced in House – Assigned to Business Affairs & Labor (01/08/2020) 



Divest from PoliceInvest in Communities. 

A webinar series to envision a different system of community safety. 

Over the summer, our country watched in horror as endless accounts of police violence against Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities, and the mistreatment of protesters who stood up and spoke out against these atrocities, moved across our news feeds and TV screens. As we bear witness to the pervasive racism that continues to plague our criminal legal system, we must confront the stark realities of racialized policing in our society. We must reimagine our system of police violence and replace it with alternative, civilian-led services that ensure public safety. 

Our three-part webinar series discusses the origins of policing and why calls for reform are not enough to eliminate discriminatory enforcement practices. We discuss the need to redirect resources from draconian police departments to services that are responsive to addressing our neighbors’ needs. We also address how advocates can demand revolutionary change from their local officials that promote community safety without the dependence of law enforcement. 

Policing 101 (October 8, 2020)watch the webinar
Defund 101 (October 15, 2020) Watch the webinar
Advocacy 101 (October 22, 2020) Click here to watch the webinar 

As a community, we must move beyond a system of policing, caging, and punishment to keep our neighbors safe. We must reimagine solutions and interventions that promote dignity, anti-racism, and freedom from the fear of state-sanctioned violence. 


Fight for Racial Justice 

In the midst of the pandemic, we are mourning the murder of George Floyd and are extremely concerned about the aggressive police tactics used on protesters. Mr. Floyd is not the first or the last Black person we will mourn. We have watched the result of hundreds of years of racism, racial terror, and police violence that communities of color across the country experience on a regular basis. Policing in the United States is rooted in white supremacy as it began as a way to surveil enslaved Black people. 

As our own Jeffery Robinson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, said, “No one has to approve of the rioting in Minneapolis and St. Paul to understand why it is happening. The protests in Minnesota and elsewhere are a direct response to the systemic violence that police perpetrate in Black communities across this country. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. The police violence and murder in the Black community in America must stop immediately.” 

It’s important that every person feels safe in their daily activities without endangering their fundamental constitutional rights. 

Our country is devastated by the frequent deaths and injuries of hundreds of Black people at the hands of the police. Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve the community and should be held accountable to the people they serve. Demand humane, equitable, and constitutional policing in Colorado communities. 

Police Encounters (June 4, 2020) click here to watch the webinar  

Protesters’ Rights (June 9, 2020) Click here to watch the recording 


Ensuring Racial Equity During COVID-19 

COVID-19 is not an “equal opportunity” disease. The existing disparities in health care, “essential” workforce, criminal legal system, and other areas make Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities the most at risk of death during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In this webinar, Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod joins the ACLU of Colorado to address, through a racial justice lens, the collection and reporting of demographic data of coronavirus cases in Colorado, how to address the racial inequities of the COVID-19 response, and resources available to communities of color during the pandemic.  

Ensuring Racial Equity During COVID-19 (and Beyond) (April 30, 2020)Click to watch the video 



ACLU Articles 


At Liberty – ACLU Podcast 


ACLU Videos 


For more resources on ACLU racial justice issues, please visit  

View All Cases

Related Cases

Brown v. City of Colorado Springs
Hot Mama Theft Mitigation Policy
ACLU Sharply Criticizes “Gypsy Scam” Bulletins released by Arapahoe Sheriff

View All Bills

Related Legislation

HB20-1048:Race Trait Hairstyle Anti-discrimination Protect
HB17-1230 Protect Colorado Residents From Federal Government Overreach
HB17-1138: Hate Crime Reporting By Law Enforcement