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: Criminalization of Homelessness
Support SB21-062: The status quo is killing us
You might know Michael Marshall as the mentally ill, homeless man killed by sheriff’s deputies in the Denver jail, but to me he was Uncle Mike. Son of John Marshall and Hattie Lee Black-Marshall, Uncle Mike was a loving man, willing to do what he could for his family and other people experiencing homelessness. He had a contagious laugh and presence that brought joy at holidays and Sunday dinners. Because he lived with schizophrenia and the stigma that goes along with mental illness and poverty,.... | Read More
Victory in Fort Collins: Court Rules Camping Ban Prosecution Violates Constitution
February 9, 2021 DENVER – The Larimer County District Court ruled that the City of Fort Collins violated the Constitution when it prosecuted Adam Wiemold, an unhoused Fort Collins man, for sleeping in his vehicle overnight at a designated rest stop when other shelter was not accessible. “The district court ruled that it violates the Constitution to prosecute people for sleeping outdoors when indoor shelter is not available to them,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director..... | Read More
Greeley Repeals “Median Ban” Challenged in ACLU Free Speech Lawsuit
DENVER – The City of Greeley has repealed an ordinance that banned pedestrians from being present on traffic medians “for longer than necessary to cross the street” following a lawsuit by ACLU of Colorado. In the lawsuit filed last month, ACLU lawyers asserted that the “median ban” violated the free speech rights of those engaging in expressive conduct on traffic medians, including individuals soliciting for charity. “Greeley adopted the median ban to target people experiencing poverty,.... | Read More
In ACLU Lawsuit, Greeley Agrees to Stop Enforcing “Median Ban” That Targets Panhandlers
DENVER – In response to an ACLU of Colorado lawsuit filed this morning in federal court, the City of Greeley has agreed to immediately stop enforcing its ordinance that bans pedestrians from being present on traffic medians “for longer than necessary to cross the street.” The lawsuit asserts that the “Median Ban” violates the free speech rights of people who want to stand on medians to engage in expressive conduct, including solicitation of charity. According to the lawsuit, Greeley.... | Read More
Lawsuit Over Lockers for the Homeless in Fort Collins Nears Resolution
July 18, 2019 [caption id="attachment_7179" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo courtesy of The Denver Channel[/caption] FORT COLLINS – A lawsuit filed against the City of Fort Collins by the ACLU of Colorado on behalf of the Fort Collins Mennonite Fellowship is close to resolution, with the parties’ attorneys having agreed on a set of conditions that will allow the Fellowship to provide outdoor storage lockers to individuals experiencing homelessness. The proposed settlement requires approval.... | Read More
ACLU Heads to Court on Motion to Dismiss Case of Fort Collins Man Who Was a Victim of the City’s Camping Ban
DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado announced that it will present evidence tomorrow, May 7 in Fort Collins Municipal Court in support of its motion to dismiss the prosecution of Adam Wiemold, a homeless man who is charged with illegal “camping” by Fort Collins police for sleeping in his vehicle at a designated rest area where truck drivers regularly rest in their vehicles with impunity. “I was sleeping in my vehicle because, even with a full-time job, I just didn’t make enough money to pay.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Supports Yes on 300
By ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley Right now in Denver, people experiencing homelessness face a cruel trap: they can’t sleep on private property because that’s trespassing, and they can’t sleep on public property because of the Denver camping ban and other ordinances that criminalize homelessness. So where are they supposed to go? The ACLU of Colorado supports Denver Initiative 300, on the ballot May 7, because it ends the Denver camping ban and breaks the.... | Read More
A Year Without Sleep – ACLU & NLCHP Report Finds Durango has Criminalized Sleep for Homeless Residents
December 12, 2018 DENVER – The City of Durango has made sleeping outdoors, even without any cover or shelter, a criminal act for homeless residents who have nowhere else to go, according to a report issued this morning by ACLU of Colorado and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (Law Center) titled A Year Without Sleep: How the City of Durango has criminalized sleep for homeless residents. ACLU of Colorado and the Law Center analyzed citations issued by the Durango police.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Will Defend Fort Collins Man Who Was a Victim of Selective Enforcement of City’s Anti-Homeless Camping Ban
November 1, 2018 DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado announced this morning that it will represent Adam Wiemold, a homeless man who was charged with illegal “camping” by Fort Collins police for sleeping in his vehicle at a designated rest area where truck drivers regularly sleep in their vehicles undisturbed by police. “At the rest stop, Fort Collins police harass and ticket homeless people for sleeping in their cars, while leaving commercial truckers alone to sleep soundly through the night,”.... | Read More
ACLU Demands 31 Colorado Cities Repeal Unconstitutional Anti-Panhandling Laws
DENVER – ACLU of Colorado sent letters to 31 cities across the state today demanding that they repeal unconstitutional laws that restrict panhandling. The letters are part of a coordinated effort, organized by the National Center on Homelessness and Poverty, involving 18 organizations in 12 states targeting more than 240 outdated panhandling bans. In Colorado, individualized letters were sent challenging ordinances in Aguilar, Alma, Berthoud, Blue River, Brush, Central City, Columbine.... | Read More
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