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: Freedom of Expression & Religion
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 Challenges Subdivision Rules Prohibiting Residents From Displaying Pride Flags, Social Justice Signs
February 23, 2021 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado filed suit today in federal court to challenge a subdivision’s rules that arbitrarily prohibit residents from displaying certain flags and signs on their own property. David Pendery, the ACLU’s client, wishes to display a Pride flag at his home to convey solidarity with LGBTQ+ families like his. He also wants to post a “We believe …” sign to encourage inclusivity and kindness. But both signs are prohibited by the rules of the Whispering Pines.... | Read More
ACLU Demands Town of South Fork Rescind New Policy Banning Solicitation of Donations for Black Lives Matter
DENVER – Today, the ACLU of Colorado sent a letter on behalf of Sol Mountain Farm to the Town of South Fork’s attorney demanding the Town immediately rescind a new policy banning solicitation of charitable donations on Town-owned property. The Town adopted the new policy in response to a complaint that the Farm was providing customers the opportunity to donate to the Black Lives Matter movement at its booth at the weekly South Fork Farmer’s Market. “Solicitation of charitable donations.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Statement on Aurora Protester Arrests
September 18, 2021 DENVER – The following is a statement from ACLU of Colorado Interim Executive Director, Stephen Meswarb. “Yesterday, prosecutors issued a more than 30-page indictment against activists protesting the killing of Elijah McClain and systemic racism by the Aurora Police Department. It has been more than a year since Aurora police officers killed Elijah McClain, and prosecutors have yet to issue an indictment against the officers who took his life. This is not justice. Yesterday's.... | 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
ACLU Sues Denver for Police Violence Against Protesters
June 25, 2020 DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado and Arnold & Porter filed a lawsuit today against the City and County of Denver on behalf of Black Lives Matter 5280 (BLM 5280) and individual plaintiffs who were injured by police while protesting police violence in late May and early June. The lawsuit challenges the use of tear gas and “less-lethal” weapons that police unleashed against nonviolent protesters who were demonstrating over the killings of Black men and women at the hands of law.... | Read More
Now is The Time for Police Accountability
June 2, 2020 DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado has been monitoring the protests happening in Denver as events have unfolded. The following statement can be attributed to Stephen Meswarb, Interim Executive Director at ACLU of Colorado: “The protests happening all over the country are an outpouring of rage and grief at the endless, relentless examples of unarmed Black people being brutalized and murdered at the hands of police. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are just the latest deaths. Here in Colorado.... | 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
ACLU Settles Case: State Senator Must Unblock Constituent on Social Media
DENVER – ACLU of Colorado announced a settlement today on behalf of Anne Landman, a constituent who was blocked in 2017 from Senator Ray Scott’s official social media accounts after she was publicly critical of several of his policy positions. As a result of the lawsuit, Scott has now unblocked Landman and must refrain from censoring anyone else with critical viewpoints from his social media accounts as a Senator, or in any future elected position. “The overwhelming majority of cases has.... | Read More
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