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.
- Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.
Category Archives: Racial Justice
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
When Reform is Not Enough: Why we must reimagine safety
She was just sleeping in her bed, I think to myself. Even when we are resting . . . we are not safe. This past Wednesday, the announcement that the Louisville, KY police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor would not be charged for her death left a numb feeling in my stomach. News like this always hits hard, but gone are the days of expressed fear, disappointment or even rage. Nothing is more painful than the realization that the U.S. criminal legal system, a system heralded by.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Statement on Aurora Protester Arrests
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 decision by.... | 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
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 Responds to Minneapolis Police Killing George Floyd
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Minnesota are jointly calling for a fair, independent, and transparent investigation following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police Monday evening. We need you with us to build national pressure and ensure public outrage leads to action. Please join us in calling on Minnesota leadership to hand the case over to an independent prosecutor under the Attorney General's authority. CALL FOR.... | Read More
Advocates to Governor Polis: Failure to Renew Prison Executive Order Will Cause Needless Suffering and Death
May 27, 2020 DENVER — Today, several criminal justice organizations slammed Governor Polis’ decision to not renew parts of his Executive Order, which granted the Colorado Department of Corrections broad authority to safely release thousands of people from prisons in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside facilities and ultimately save lives. The Governor’s decision to halt the order comes on the heels of an April analysis provided to CDOC that predicted COVID-19 would infect more.... | Read More
ACLU Sues Colorado Springs Police, Charges Racial Profiling and Biased Policing
May 15, 2020 DENVER - In a lawsuit filed in federal court today, ACLU of Colorado charged that three Colorado Springs police officers, with their employer’s blessing, engaged in racial profiling and 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. “The color of a person’s skin does not provide reasonable suspicion of criminal activity,” said ACLU of Colorado.... | Read More
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