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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.

DA Drops Criminal Charge Against Mom Who Wrote “STOP PUTTING KIDS IN CAGES” in Chalk Outside of Rep. Ken Buck’s Office

DENVER – The District Attorney’s Office of the 18th District announced yesterday via Twitter that it will dismiss the “criminal tampering” charge against Shauna Johnson, a mother of two who wrote “STOP PUTTING KIDS IN CAGES” in chalk on the sidewalk outside of Rep. Ken Buck’s Castle Rock District Office.

The DA’s office wrote that it reviewed the case, and “determined that justice would be a dismissal.”

Statement from ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein:

“We are pleased with the decision of the prosecution to dismiss the ‘criminal tampering’ charge against Shauna Johnson, and we agree that it is a just result.

“Shauna Johnson is a concerned constituent who simply wanted to communicate a message of dissent to Representative Buck against the cruel immigration policies of the Trump Administration. She did no damage and intended no harm. She should never have been charged in the first place.

“Dissent is patriotic, and especially now, we cannot allow government to intimidate or silence those who speak out against injustice.”

Statement from Shauna Johnson:

“While my family is elated that, with the help of our superheroes at ACLU of Colorado, I won’t be prosecuted, there are still thousands of babies, toddlers, and young children who haven’t seen their moms and dads for weeks.”

“We must continue to show up and speak out for these kids.

“I hope many people will join the Denver Families Belong Together Rally tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Civic Center Park.”

Johnson was represented in the criminal case by Silverstein and Adam Frank of Frank and Salahuddin, as well as ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Sara Neel.

Resources:

ACLU Will Defend Mom Who Faces Jail TIme for Writing “Stop Putting Kids in Cages” in Chalk Outside of Rep. Ken Buck’s Office

 



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