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: News
ACLU of Colorado Statement on the Aurora Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain’s Death
February 23, 2021 DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for ACLU of Colorado. “The Aurora independent investigation report confirms in stark terms what the community has long understood: Aurora police killed Elijah McClain. Mr. McClain was the innocent victim of multiple violations of longstanding law that is supposed to limit the authority of law enforcement. Aurora police had no grounds to stop Mr. McClain in the first place. They had.... | 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
Victory in Fort Collins: Court Rules Camping Ban Prosecution Violates Constitution
February 9, 2021 DENVER – The Larimer County District Court ruled that the City of Fort Collins violated the Constitution when it prosecuted Adam Wiemold, an unhoused Fort Collins man, for sleeping in his vehicle overnight at a designated rest stop when other shelter was not accessible. “The district court ruled that it violates the Constitution to prosecute people for sleeping outdoors when indoor shelter is not available to them,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director..... | Read More
Colorado Coalition Condemns Hickenlooper for Vote Against Stimulus
300 Colorado Advocates Call on Senator to Protect Undocumented Immigrants February 8, 2021 DENVER – In a letter released Monday, February 8, a coalition of 300 concerned organizations, elected officials, businesses and community members called on Sen. John Hickenlooper to commit to supporting Colorado’s impacted communities and to deliver the necessary aid and protection he promised to all Coloradans. The letter came in response to the senator’s symbolic vote to block stimulus payments.... | Read More
Redemption Campaign: NFL Athletes Speak Out
In a series of ads, Justin Simmons, Alexander Johnson and De’Vante Bausby, activists and NFL professional athletes for the Denver Broncos, urge Governor Polis to use his clemency powers to safely release people from prison and fight mass incarceration. The ads are the centerpiece of the launch of Colorado’s Redemption Campaign, a statewide initiative to safely release thousands of people who pose no public safety risk from Colorado prisons by challenging Governor Polis to use existing clemency.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Welcomes Deborah J. Richardson as New Executive Director
DENVER – ACLU of Colorado is pleased to announce Deborah J. Richardson as its new Executive Director. She will lead the organization in its mission to protect, defend and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado. Most recently, Ms. Richardson was the Executive Director of the International Human Trafficking Institute of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta and was formerly its Executive Vice President. She will officially assume the position of.... | Read More
NFL Professional Athletes Call on Governor Polis to Safely Release People from Prison
DENVER – In an ad launched today, local NFL professional athletes have teamed up with ACLU of Colorado, urging Governor Jared Polis to use his clemency powers to safely release medically vulnerable people from prison during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad is part of the launch of Colorado’s Redemption Campaign, a statewide initiative to liberate thousands of people who pose no public safety risk from Colorado prisons by challenging Governor Polis to use existing clemency powers in new and transformational.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Statement on Governor’s Use of Clemency
December 23, 2020 The following statement can be attributed to Denise Maes, ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director. This afternoon, Governor Jared Polis announced that he is exercising his clemency power to release four people from prison who deserve a second chance. We know these releases mean a great deal to these four families, and we are celebrating with them. In granting clemency as he has done, Governor Polis leads Colorado in a small step toward redemption and compassion. We note.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Presents Premiere Screening of “The Facility” Documentary About GEO Facility in Aurora
December 17, 2020 Seguido en español. DENVER – ACLU of Colorado, in partnership with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA), will host a virtual premiere screening of “The Facility,” a short documentary about the GEO immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado. The screening will be followed by a Q&A panel with the film director, former detainees, and immigration advocates who were featured in the film. This film.... | Read More
ACLU and Civil Rights Attorneys File Class Action Lawsuit Against El Paso County Sheriff for Deliberately Denying Masks and COVID-19 Protections to Incarcerated People
December 14, 2020 DENVER – As COVID-19 raged throughout Colorado jails and prisons, and more than 800 detainees at the El Paso County Jail tested positive for the virus, jail staff told incarcerated people begging for help: “we’re just going to let the virus run its course.” On Sunday, ACLU of Colorado and three private attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against the sheriff in federal court. The lawsuit, based on hundreds of letters and dozens of interviews, seeks an expedited hearing.... | Read More
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