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. 


Colorado ACLU Echoes for Stop to Attorney General's Assault on Civil Liberties


Feb 12, 2003


In a recent announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union warned against the likely ineffectiveness of and danger to average Americans posed by the vast cyber-surveillance system known as Total Information Awareness (TIA).


"The Pentagon's plan for the most extensive data surveillance network in history will have real effects on real Americans," Katie Corrigan, ACLU Legislative Counsel told a nationwide teleconference with reporters and editors. "It will place millions of innocent Americans under government scrutiny in an epidemic of privacy invasion."


Representatives of a broad, right- and left-leaning coalition, which includes the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Eagle Forum, and other organizations, were on hand to answer questions.


Much of the briefing focused on the practical dangers inherent in TIA for average Americans and how the system will erode the ability of communities across the country to maintain control over their personal information.


Coloradans are keenly aware of the dangers to the integrity of their personal information by the recent disclosure that the Denver Police Department kept intelligence files on individuals who exercised their First Amendment rights by participating in peaceful protests. Some of these people were labeled as "criminal extremists" by members of the Police Department who assigned them to arbitrary categories in the Police database.


The ACLU of Colorado Foundation released a document on January 22, 2003, from the Denver Police Spy Files showing that the Colorado Springs Police Department and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations collected information on individuals at a peaceful demonstration at Peterson Air Force Base in 1999 and shared it with the Denver Police Department. An ongoing class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Colorado challenges the Police Department's Spy Files and the practice of monitoring peaceful protesters and keeping files on the expressive activities of peaceful critics of government policies.


Total Information Awareness developers, led by former Reagan National Security Adviser and convicted felon John Poindexter, intends to create the infrastructure to allow the government to use "data-mining" technology to track and monitor, among many other things, innocent Americans' financial, health, travel and credit card records. The program has been billed as an anti-terrorism tool; however, many technical experts question its viability, and civil liberties and privacy advocates oppose the system for its potential disastrous effects on core freedoms.


Click here for additional background about the Spy Files controversy

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