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: Government Transparency
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 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
Support the Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act
Our country is devastated by the frequent deaths and injuries of hundreds of Black and Brown people at the hands of the police. Police officers are entrusted to protect and serve the community and should be held accountable to the people they serve. Demand humane, equitable, and constitutional policing in Colorado communities. Contact your representative and tell them to vote in support of the Law Enforcement Integrity and Accountability Act. Police officers often escape liability because.... | 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
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
Victories Under The Dome
We had an ambitious legislative agenda entering into the 2019 session and are happy to announce a series of successes. First, we championed legislation that will fund for the first time in our state's history, comprehensive sex education for schools seeking to adopt such a curriculum. We were able to champion legislation that will bring some relief to our immigrant friends and neighbors and advanced legislation that will reform aspects of our cruel bail system. You made this happen and we thank you.... | Read More
ACLU Files Suit for Records Illegally Denied by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
8/24/16 DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today challenging a practice by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of withholding documents, without legal justification, that immigration lawyers require to advocate for clients that the agency deems to be “fugitives.” “The Freedom of Information Act lists nine and only nine possible grounds an agency may rely on to withhold documents from disclosure,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado and Coalition Partners Question Denver Sheriff’s Budget Priorities
October 21, 2015 DENVER – As Mayor Michael Hancock prepares to present his 2016 city budget, several of Denver’s leading criminal justice reform organizations submitted a joint letter to City Council questioning the$24 million increase in the Denver Sheriff Department’s budget. The coalition includes ACLU of Colorado, Colorado Latino Forum, Drug Policy Alliance, Criminal Defense Institute, Colorado Justice Reform Coalition and Colorado Defense Bar. The letter outlines several concerns: In.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Supports Legislative Measures to Increase Police Accountability and Transparency
March 18, 2015 DENVER – A bipartisan package of ten bills was introduced yesterday in the Colorado legislature to increase transparency and accountability in police practices and to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local communities that they serve. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado issued the following statement: “The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado applauds members of the Colorado legislature for coming together in a broad, bipartisan fashion to.... | Read More
ACLU Seeks Records Related to Castle Rock Police Shooting
November 20, 2013 DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed suit this morning seeking Castle Rock Police Department records related to the conduct of an on-duty police officer who put innocent civilians in danger last February when he fired multiple shots from a semi-automatic rifle at the vehicle of an unarmed fleeing burglary suspect. The suit was brought on behalf of Michael and Susan Cardella, who were sitting inside their parked car when it was hit by one of the officer’s stray bullets. According.... | Read More
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