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: Campaign Issues
ACLU of Colorado Statement on Governor’s Use of Clemency
December 23, 2020 The following statement can be attributed to Denise Maes, ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director. This afternoon, Governor Jared Polis announced that he is exercising his clemency power to release four people from prison who deserve a second chance. We know these releases mean a great deal to these four families, and we are celebrating with them. In granting clemency as he has done, Governor Polis leads Colorado in a small step toward redemption and compassion. We note.... | Read More
ACLU and Civil Rights Attorneys File Class Action Lawsuit Against El Paso County Sheriff for Deliberately Denying Masks and COVID-19 Protections to Incarcerated People
December 14, 2020 DENVER – As COVID-19 raged throughout Colorado jails and prisons, and more than 800 detainees at the El Paso County Jail tested positive for the virus, jail staff told incarcerated people begging for help: “we’re just going to let the virus run its course.” On Sunday, ACLU of Colorado and three private attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against the sheriff in federal court. The lawsuit, based on hundreds of letters and dozens of interviews, seeks an expedited hearing.... | Read More
ACLU and Weld County Sheriff Resolve Class Action COVID-19 Lawsuit Concerning County Jail
December 1, 2020 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado and the Weld County Sheriff have come to a resolution of last April’s class action lawsuit over Sheriff Reams’ failure to take adequate measures to protect people in his jail from COVID-19. Reams and ACLU jointly asked the federal court in Denver to enter a consent decree to memorialize the terms of the resolution. “Last spring, COVID-19 was spreading quickly through the Weld County Jail, and only action by the court and agreement by both parties.... | Read More
ACLU and DOC Resolve Class Action COVID-19 Lawsuit, While Case Against Governor Continues
November 13, 2020 DENVER – With two court filings today, ACLU of Colorado announced a resolution with the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) of last May’s class action lawsuit alleging failure to protect medically vulnerable people in prison from COVID-19. The DOC and ACLU jointly asked the Denver District Court to enter an order, called a “consent decree,” which memorializes the terms of the resolution. It requires access to masks and hygiene supplies; prioritizes safe housing.... | 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
ACLU Report Finds Colorado Jail Depopulation Policies are Smart, Safe and Fiscally Responsible, Many Colorado Sheriffs Agree
DENVER – A new ACLU of Colorado report “COVID-19 Jail Depopulation in Colorado: An Unexpected Path Forward” found that jail depopulation in Colorado has been smart, safe, and thoughtful, with a clear focus on reserving jail beds for people who pose a threat to others. This report uses original data and research to assess the impact of depopulation policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and calls on legislators to memorialize these policies into law in 2021.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Launches 2020 Voter Guide Focused on Civil Liberties at Stake
DENVER – With less than 30 days until the most consequential election in American history, ACLU of Colorado launched its 2020 Voter Guide today to help people better understand the candidates’ positions on critical civil liberties issues and what ballot initiatives to look out for including: Amendment 76 regarding citizenship qualification of electors, Proposition 113 for the national popular vote, Proposition 115 concerning the ban on abortion later in pregnancy and Proposition 118 for paid.... | Read More
ACLU’s Lawsuit Against Teller County Sheriff’s ICE Operations Moves to Appeals
May 26, 2020 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado has appealed a ruling of the Teller County District Court dismissing a taxpayer lawsuit seeking to stop Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell from enforcing federal civil immigration law. The lawsuit, filed last summer on behalf of six Teller County residents and taxpayers, asserts that Sheriff Mikesell exceeds his authority and violates Colorado law by participating in what is known as a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.... | Read More
Colorado Now the 22nd State to Repeal the Death Penalty
Even in the midst of coronavirus shut-downs, we have an opportunity today to celebrate. Today, Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 100 repealing the death penalty in Colorado and clearing death row. This long-overdue achievement makes Colorado the 22nd state to repeal the death penalty, finally ending this broken, costly, and unjust system in our state. As I complete my last month as Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado after almost eight years in this position, I am particularly happy.... | Read More
Donate Your Refund to Fight for Your Rights
This tax season, there’s an exciting new way to turn your refund into real results. ReFUND CO allows you to donate your state income tax return to a local nonprofit like ACLU of Colorado. Simply decide how much of your state income tax refund to donate, enter American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado, Inc. and our registration number, 20023005801, on the “Donate to a Colorado Nonprofit Fund” line on your state tax return or tax software. With a few simple steps, you’re one step.... | Read More
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