Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

Colorado Springs Sues ACLU For Over Request For Public Records

In response to a routine request for public records filed by the ACLU of Colorado, the City of Colorado Springs filed suit against the ACLU in state district court in Colorado Springs. The lawsuit asks for a ruling that the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is not required to release the records of an Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) investigation into allegations of serious police misconduct.

"In this case a patrol officer’s narrative report suggests that a second officer, K.D. Hardy, repeatedly used his full-sized metal flashlight to brutally beat Delvikio Faulkner, African American passenger traveling in a car that was initially stopped for a minor problem with its license plate," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "According to the report, Officer Hardy delivered six blows from the flashlight, including three to the victim’s head. Using a large metal flashlight as an impact weapons poses a substantial risk of very serious injury and even death."

"This is not only a case about alleged police brutality and grossly excessive and unjustified force," Silverstein continued. "It may also be an example of the most vicious kind of racial profiling. The public is entitled to know how the police department discharged its duty to investigate this alleged misconduct. It is also entitled to know the findings and what discipline, if any, was imposed."

The CSPD initially responded to the ACLU request by saying that as a matter of policy it did not release IAB documents under the open records laws. In an effort to persuade CSPD officials to change their view, ACLU staff Attorney Taylor Pendergrass supplied a copy of an order issued in an ACLU case by Denver District Court Judge Catherine Lemon in December, which held that a similar policy of the Denver Police Department violated the Colorado open records laws. Judge Lemon’s ruling followed similar rulings in three additional cases in recent years holding that the Denver Police Department must release IAB files to the ACLU under the open records laws.

Last January, in response to Judge Lemon’s order, Denver officials abandoned earlier intentions to appeal and instead announced that they would revise their disclosure policies to conform with the legal analysis in Judge Lemon’s ruling.

"I hoped that sending Judge Lemon’s ruling might persuade Colorado Springs officials that they had a duty under the open records laws to share more information with the public," Pendergrass said. "On Friday I spoke with a representative of the Colorado Springs City Attorney’s Office, who said he would send certain police reports but still would withhold the IAB file. He never mentioned any intention to sue the ACLU. I was surprised when a process server arrived at our office with a lawsuit and a summons."

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