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?
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.
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.
Category Archives: Blog
Defending Speech We Hate
The record demonstrates the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to First Amendment rights for all. David Cole, ACLU Legal Director June 6, 2021 Has the ACLU lost its way? This appears to be a perennial question. In 1994, then-ACLU President Nadine Strossen wrote a 17-page article with 54 footnotes, responding to the charge that the organization “is abandoning its traditional commitment to free speech and other classic civil liberties and is becoming a ‘trendy’ liberal organization primarily.... | Read More
No on 115, One Family’s Story
Proposition 115 is a dangerous mistake that is deeply personal for us. When we decided to grow our family, pregnancy did not come easy for us. When it happened, after several years of attempts, we were overjoyed. Early complications left us with a risky pregnancy to both mother and child that our doctors closely monitored. They needed the fetus to develop for 22 weeks before they could fully diagnose the issues and give us accurate information. The prognosis was heartbreaking. The developmental.... | Read More
A High Risk Pregnancy Obstetrician Says Vote No on 115
"Proposition 115 does not extend compassionate care." True story. A 25-year-old patient and her husband go to their OBGYN’s office for a routine, mid-pregnancy ultrasound. They are excited - they’ve spent the last several months preparing for their new family and adventures yet to come. A few minutes later, their world turns upside down. Their baby has anencephaly, a condition in which major parts of the brain and skull do not form. It is a lethal diagnosis and a devastating blow.... | Read More
When Reform is Not Enough: Why we must reimagine safety
She was just sleeping in her bed, I think to myself. Even when we are resting . . . we are not safe. This past Wednesday, the announcement that the Louisville, KY police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor would not be charged for her death left a numb feeling in my stomach. News like this always hits hard, but gone are the days of expressed fear, disappointment or even rage. Nothing is more painful than the realization that the U.S. criminal legal system, a system heralded by.... | Read More
I’m Nine Years Old and Transgender
Everyone has a story. This is mine. What is gender? What does it mean to be a “girl” or a “boy”? For me, it was confusing because it was hard to be who I was with everyone around me calling me a boy, when deep down I felt like a girl. In Kindergarten I drew a picture of “Clark as a girl” and it was the first time I realized that I felt uncomfortable with being a boy. I didn’t know if I was right to be a girl or a boy or if I would get in trouble. We lived in Texas. I loved pink,.... | Read More
The Price for Free Speech: Teetering between Hong Kong and America
June 2020 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the Hong Kong protest. In the past year, students in Hong Kong joined hands with suited professionals, stay-home moms, and seniors to resist against the city’s fading freedom under the iron fist of an authoritarian regime. While being physically away from home and enduring the pain of not being with my people, my heart has never left Hong Kong. Studying in the U.S. and now interning at the ACLU of Colorado have been precious opportunities.... | Read More
We Won, What’s Next?
June 16, 2020 By Julian Camera, Field Organizer Yesterday, Aimee Stephens, Don Zarda, and Gerald Bostock won. The LGBTQ+ community won. Hope, justice and humanity won. The Supreme Court ruled that it was against the law to fire our clients — fire anyone — for being LGBTQ+. This landmark victory was the result of decades of work by LGBTQ+ people fighting for the right to exist. It belongs to Aimee, Don, and Gerald, and innumerable individuals who spoke up and spoke out against discrimination. To.... | Read More
Goodbye From Nathan Woodliff-Stanley
On my last day at the ACLU of Colorado, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to have led this essential, impactful organization for the last 7 ½ years. I had no idea I would be leaving in the middle of a pandemic, but even this crisis illustrates the critical work of the ACLU, where we have sought to reduce immediately the crowding of people in jails, prisons, and detention centers, protecting people’s rights along with public health simultaneously. As the current crisis evolves,.... | Read More
“Do Not Kill in My Name” – How Colorado Finally Repealed the Death Penalty
For more than twenty years, an evolving coalition of victims’ family members, corrections officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, faith leaders, and civil liberties champions have worked relentlessly to end the death penalty in Colorado. In 2019, following a democratic sweep of both the legislature and the Governor’s office, many thought repeal was inevitable. Unfortunately, the state senate could not bring the bill across the finish line. In response, the ACLU of Colorado launched an ambitious,.... | Read More
New leadership for the ACLU of Colorado
Since October of 2012, it has been my enormous privilege to serve as Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado. Now, I am preparing to move on from this position, after completing our current fiscal year on March 31. I would not do this if I were not confident that we have the resources, staff and expertise to continue the critical work we do every day. You can read the official announcement at ACLU-co.org. When I began this position, I could not have imagined everything that we would accomplish.... | Read More
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