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: Student and Youth Rights
ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Douglas County School District, Sheriff and SROs for Handcuffing an 11-year-old Child With Autism
March 9, 2021 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado filed suit today against the Douglas County School District, Douglas County Sheriff and several School Resource Officers (SROs) after they aggressively handcuffed an eleven-year-old Hispanic child with autism and left him in a patrol car for hours, causing him to become so dysregulated that he banged his head repeatedly and sustained injuries. Without seeking medical attention, officers drove the child to a juvenile detention center and placed him in.... | Read More
Colorado Legislators Sign Joint Letter Opposing Amendment 76
32 State Lawmakers Condemn 76 as an Anti-immigrant “Voter Suppression” Effort, Urge no Vote DENVER – In a letter released Monday, 32 Democratic state lawmakers called on Coloradans to vote no on Amendment 76, condemning the measure as a “cynical, misguided initiative.” Legislators – including the Speaker of the House, Senate Majority Leader, and several other high-ranking officials – decried the amendment as a “direct attack on Colorado's youngest voters and our immigrant community,”.... | Read More
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
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 Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Uphold DACA
June 18, 2020 WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and jeopardize the lives of 700,000 DACA recipients. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has fought the Trump administration’s termination of DACA since it was first announced and filed an amicus brief in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. In a separate case, the ACLU.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado is Calling for the Release of Incarcerated Youth to Prevent a Public Health Crisis
March 19, 2020 DENVER — Today a coalition of organizations sent a letter to Colorado juvenile justice officials outlining immediate actions to take to protect incarcerated children. As these youth are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking system actors to respond swiftly to recommendations put forth by public health experts — specifically calling for the immediate release of youth identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as vulnerable, as.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Mourns the Loss of Long-time Leader and Advocate Judd Golden
ACLU of Colorado is deeply saddened by the death of Judd Golden, 70, on January 28, 2020. Judd was killed in a head-on collision on I-25 north of Pueblo when another car crossed the median. A long-time ACLU leader and volunteer, Judd was head of the Boulder Chapter of the ACLU for 20 years and a member of the chapter beginning in 1985. He was a volunteer cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Iowa starting in 1974, and moved to Colorado in 1984 as the Mountain States Counsel, a national ACLU staff.... | 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
Bill to Reform Youth Corrections Heads to the Governor’s Desk
DENVER – The Colorado Legislature gave final approval last night to HB 1329, a bill to bring systematic change to the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC). HB 1329 will increase transparency within DYC and create a 2-year pilot program focused on treatment and rehabilitation of kids without the use of punitive measures, such as solitary confinement, mechanical restraints, and pain compliance. The Division of Youth Corrections will also be renamed the Division of Youth Services and the.... | Read More
DYC’s Punitive Culture is Hurting Colorado Kids, and Making Kids and Staff Unsafe
Coalition calls for a new approach based on highly-successful Missouri model Denver, CO (3/2/17) – Violence in Colorado’s Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) facilities has risen dramatically in recent years, and the common use of punitive measures, including pain compliance, knee strikes, solitary confinement, and a full-body straitjacket called the WRAP have created a culture of violence that is failing Colorado’s troubled youth, according to a new report released today by the Colorado.... | Read More
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