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: acluco.org/redemption. 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?
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.
Category Archives: Issues
ACLU of Colorado to Host Virtual Bill of Rights Event
October 4, 2021 Seguido en Español. DENVER – ACLU of Colorado will host its annual Bill of Rights event virtually with free registration to members, donors, activists and all interested community members on October 7, 2021, at 6:00 pm MT. This year’s program honors Colorado leaders and commemorates civil rights and civil liberties successes. Hosted by Executive Director Deborah Richardson, who joined the ACLU of Colorado in March 2021, the event will be an opportunity to hear directly from.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Statement on the Indictments Against Aurora Police Officers and Paramedics in the Death of Elijah McClain
September 1, 2021 DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Deborah Richardson, Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado. “Two years after Elijah Jovan McClain, a 23-year-old African American, a beloved brother and son, a massage therapist and gifted violinist, died at the hands of Aurora police and first responders, two of the three police officers directly involved in his death still work at the department. Six months after the Aurora independent investigation report confirmed.... | Read More
Colorado Springs Settles Racial Profiling Lawsuit Brought by ACLU
August 30, 2021 Seguido en Español. DENVER – The City of Colorado Springs has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Colorado alleging that three Colorado Springs police officers engaged in racially biased policing when they targeted Corey Barnes, a Black resident of the Springs, and detained him without cause, handcuffed him without justification and searched him illegally. Along with monetary compensation, the Colorado Springs Police Department has agreed to.... | Read More
To Teach the Truth: My Understanding of Critical Race Theory
August 6, 2021 When I was a sophomore in high school, my world history teacher started off the class period one morning with a question. He presented the class with a sweatshirt that all the teachers received as a gift from the school for the holidays. Along the sleeve of the black sweatshirt, in white thread, read the school’s name: DSST: Stapleton. He asked my class, “Should I take this black permanent marker and erase the name Stapleton?” He then gave a short presentation about.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Cautions Boulder: Stop Mistreating Unhoused Residents
July 29, 2021 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado sent a letter today to government officials in Boulder, demanding an end to their unconstitutional and inhumane treatment of unhoused Boulder residents. The letter followed an ACLU investigation that found that unhoused residents are denied shelter due to arbitrary residency requirements and unjustly prosecuted for sleeping outdoors even when they have no adequate alternatives. According to the letter, Boulder, “with one hand makes shelter available.... | Read More
Federal Court Allows Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Against Frontier Airlines to Continue
July 15, 2021 DENVER — A federal court yesterday denied Frontier Airlines’ request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by four flight attendants who allege the company discriminates against pregnant and breastfeeding employees. The court’s action allows the class action lawsuit, which is a companion to a related case filed by four Frontier pilots, to move forward. The employees have alleged that Frontier denies accommodations to pregnant or breastfeeding flight attendants that would be given.... | Read More
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
ACLU Sues Aurora, Prior Convictions Shouldn’t Prohibit People From Running for Office
May 27, 2021 DENVER – Today, ACLU of Colorado sued the City of Aurora for blocking a candidate with a prior felony conviction from running for public office. Candice Bailey, an Aurora resident and community leader for racial justice, intends to run for an at-large position on the Aurora City Council in the November 2021 municipal election. But the Aurora City Charter and City Code forbid her from being a candidate or holding public office solely based on her past conviction. “A city has.... | Read More
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
ACLU Statement on Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
April 20, 2021 MINNEAPOLIS — A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. The following statement can be attributed to Jason Williamson, deputy director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project: “George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While.... | Read More
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