Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • 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?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • 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

  • 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.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

CLF and ACLU: DSD Reform Expert Loses Community Credibility By Supporting Torture

December 12, 2014

DENVER, CO – Jim Davis, former head of the FBI’s Denver office, who was recruited by Mayor Michael Hancock to lead the reform effort for the Denver Sheriff Department has come out in support of the “extreme interrogation techniques” used by the CIA, even though a new Senate Intelligence Committee report has found that “torture doesn’t work and shouldn’t be employed by our country.”

Davis was hired after the city agreed to pay $3.25 million to former inmate Jamal Hunter who was tortured by inmates as his genitals were burned over several hours apparently facilitated and encouraged by a DSD deputy who ignored his screams.  Hunter was also later choked by a deputy, pinned down by several other officers and then shocked twice with a Taser stun gun as a result of seeking medical attention for his torture injuries.

Davis was issued $80,000 for a five-month contract  that runs through Dec. 31 funded by taxpayer dollars. The CLF and the ACLU of Colorado find it disturbingly contradictory that a person who supports the torture of human beings is leading the charge to curtail inmate abuse.

“While positive steps have recently been taken, comments by Mayoral representatives that condone torture sets the City back in its efforts to promote community healing and transform a culture of violence that is still pervasive in Denver’s public safety departments,” said Rudy Gonzales, Co-chair of the Colorado Latino Forum, Denver Chapter.

On December 3rd CLF Denver Chapter Issued a Declaration of Human Rights for Denver Public Safety Department Reform urging the Mayor and City leaders to admit systemic failures and rebuild community trust. CLF also encouraged public officials to join the national dialogue to explore ways to build trust and confidence between police and minority communities nationwide and recommend ways the government can support accountability, transparency and trust in law enforcement.

“Representatives of the City of Denver need to send a consistent message about the fair, dignified and humane treatment of all detained persons,” said ACLU Public Policy Director Denise Maes

On January 10th CLF will convene the 6th Annual Colorado Latino Forum Public Policy Summit at the Tivoli hosted by Metropolitan State University of Denver. As a follow-up to the CLF Denver Chapter’s 21-page public safety report members will also address criminal justice and prosecutorial reform.

To register please visit To receive information, submit names of subject matter experts, become a sponsor or set up an information table, please email with your request.

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