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 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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