Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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. 

  • 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 Voters Strike Down Ban on Abortion at the Ballot Box

DENVER, CO — Colorado voters rejected Proposition 115 tonight, a ballot measure to ban abortion later in pregnancy, rejecting the ballot initiative by a 60-40 margin.

If passed, Proposition 115 would have made it a crime for doctors to provide abortion care starting at 22 weeks in pregnancy, with no consideration for the unique circumstances of each pregnancy. The one-size-fits-all mandate would have prevented doctors from providing the best medical care for their patients. This is the fourth anti-abortion measure Colorado voters have defeated at the ballot box in the last 12 years, including a proposed amendment to the state constitution recognizing fetal “personhood,” which would have created a total ban on abortion and restricted IVF, and some forms of birth control.

The following is a statement from Denise Maes, public policy director at the ACLU of Colorado.

“Tonight, Coloradans made their voices heard — and for the fourth time in almost as many elections, rejected attempts of anti-abortion politicians and organizations to strip dignity and bodily autonomy from the people of this state. This is a victory for reproductive freedom and gender equality in Colorado, only made possible by the tireless effort of every No on 115 partner, volunteer, and voter. With the future of legal abortion on the federal level more uncertain than ever, the defeat of Proposition 115 is a crucial statement of our values and of the growing importance of defending and advancing reproductive freedom at a state and local level.”

Carolyn Ehrlich, senior political strategist at the ACLU, said:

“The defeat of Proposition 115 is an essential victory for those in Colorado who will maintain access to safe, compassionate abortion care throughout pregnancy, as well as those who need to travel to Colorado from another state to obtain care, thereby preserving the state as a haven for abortion access. We are in a critical moment in the fight for reproductive freedom, and every organizer, volunteer, and voter should be proud of how their work will protect abortion rights in Colorado and beyond.”


The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.

Los Votantes de Colorado Derrotaron la Prohibición del Aborto en las Urnas Electorales

DENVER, CO — Esta noche, los votantes de Colorado rechazaron la Propuesta 115, una medida electoral para prohibir el aborto en etapas avanzadas del embarazo. La iniciativa electoral fue rechazada por un margen de 60-40.

Si se hubiera aprobado, la Propuesta 115 hubiera hecho que fuera un delito para los doctores realizar un aborto a contar de las 22 semanas de gestación, sin considerar las circunstancias únicas de cada embarazo. Este mandato uniforme para todas las personas hubiera evitado que los doctores les entregaran la mejor atención médica a sus pacientes. Esta es la cuarta medida anti-aborto que los votantes de Colorado han derrotado en las urnas electorales durante los últimos 12 años, incluyendo la propuesta de una modificación a la constitución estatal para reconocer la “condición de persona” del feto, lo que hubiera prohibido completamente el acceso al aborto, además de la fecundación in vitro (FIV) y algunos métodos anticonceptivos.

Esta es la declaración de Denise Maes, directora de políticas públicas de la Unión Americana de Libertades Civiles de Colorado (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés):

“Esta noche, los habitantes de Colorado hicieron que sus voces se escucharan y, por cuarta vez en casi la misma cantidad de elecciones, rechazaron los intentos de políticos y organizaciones anti-aborto de arrebatarles la dignidad y autonomía corporal a las personas de este estado. Esta es una victoria para la libertad reproductiva y equidad de género en Colorado, que solo fue posible gracias a los incansables esfuerzos de cada votante, colaborador y voluntario de la campaña No a la Propuesta 115. Con el futuro del aborto legal a nivel federal más incierto que nunca, la derrota de la Propuesta 115 es una declaración crucial acerca de nuestros valores y de la creciente importancia de defender e impulsar libertad reproductiva a nivel estatal y local.”

Carolyn Ehrlich, estratega política senior de ACLU, declaró:

“La derrota de la Propuesta 115 es una victoria esencial para aquellas personas en Colorado que mantendrán el acceso a un aborto seguro y compasivo durante todo el embarazo y para quienes necesiten viajar a Colorado desde otro estado para recibir esta atención, manteniendo así la condición de refugio del estado para el acceso al aborto. Nos encontramos en un momento crítico de la lucha por la libertad reproductiva, por lo que cada organizador, voluntario y votante debería sentirse orgulloso de la manera en que su trabajo protegerá los derechos del aborto en Colorado y más allá de sus fronteras.”

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