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  • 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 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.

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

  • 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.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

Colorado Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Children from Solitary Confinement

DENVER – Statement of ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes on HB 1328, a bill to protect Colorado children from solitary confinement, which was approved today by the Colorado House of Representatives, after passing the Senate unanimously last week.

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado commends the Colorado legislature for taking action to protect children from inhumane and dangerous solitary confinement.  HB 1328 puts in place permanent guardrails and oversight measures to ensure that the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections never again resorts to using long-term solitary confinement to manage or punish children.

A 2014 investigation by the ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center, and Colorado Disability Law revealed that DYC had illegally placed children in solitary confinement for days, weeks, even more than a month as punishment when there was no emergency, as a form of “treatment.”

Following the investigation, DYC committed to ending its use of solitary confinement except in emergencies, and adopted a new policy to that effect. HB 1328 codifies the current policy limiting the use of solitary confinement and establishes procedures to be followed when a child is secluded for more than four hours.  The bill also includes recording requirements and the establishment of a working group to ensure implementation of the law and to prevent reversion to harmful seclusion practices.

The ACLU of Colorado would like to thank the sponsors of HB 1328, Senators Kent Lambert and Kevin Lundberg, Representative Beth McCann, and especially Representative Pete Lee, whose personal dedication and leadership was essential to navigating the bill to successful passage with wide bipartisan support in the final days of the session.”

RESOURCES:

Fact Sheet on HB 1328 – A Bill to Protect Colorado’s Children from Solitary Confinement

Visit the ACLU of Colorado Stop Solitary Campaign Page



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