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. 

Denver Authorizes Settlement with ACLU over Mistaken ID Arrests

December 2, 2014

DENVER – Last night, the Denver City Council voted to authorize a $337,250 settlement to compensate three ACLU clients who were the victims of mistaken identity arrests by Denver law enforcement.  The City of Denver previously paid $232,000 in compensation to three additional people named in the same suit.  In each case, the ACLU argued that Denver police deliberately ignored facts that demonstrated that they were arresting or causing the arrest of the wrong person and that Denver Sheriff Department deputies refused to investigate obvious red flags and repeated complaints from plaintiffs and their family that they were locking up the wrong person.

Statement of ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein

 “The ACLU of Colorado is encouraged that the Denver City Council has now authorized $337,250 to compensate three innocent victims of mistaken ID arrests carried out by Denver law enforcement.

“The mistaken ID arrests were a result of a widespread policy and practice of tolerating egregious mistakes, where a warrant for one person resulted in a different person being arrested.  In the course of discovery in this long-pending lawsuit, the ACLU of Colorado documented more than 500 occasions in a seven-year period in which persons were wrongly arrested and imprisoned in Denver’s jails.   Some persons spent weeks in jail wrongly imprisoned on warrants for others.  Some wound up pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit, in order to secure release for “time served.”

“Arrests carry serious consequences.  Beyond the time spent in jail away from work and family, people who are arrested can lose their jobs and be labeled as criminals in their community.  It’s critically important that when law enforcement chooses to arrest someone, they have firm practices and safeguards in place to ensure that they arrest the right person.

“Since the filing of this suit more than five years ago, the ACLU of Colorado has been working with the City of Denver to develop improved law enforcement policies that will reduce the frequency of mistaken ID arrests, and, when mistakes do happen, that will detect them promptly and remedy them quickly.”


 Read the original release from the filing of the suit:

Visit the case page, which contains documents and links to news coverage of the mistaken ID arrests:

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