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 Police Planned on Air Force Help in Gathering Information for Spy Files

Jan 22, 2003

The Denver Police Department planned to receive intelligence information from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) about the identities and activities of participants in a peaceful demonstration outside Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs in 1999, according to a document from the Denver Police Spy Files released today by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU). The document is available on the ACLU's web site at

The disclosure supplements related documents disclosed by the ACLU last November that indicate that the Colorado Springs Police Department collected information at the same demonstration and reported it back to Denver for inclusion in the Spy Files.

The document disclosed today states that on March 27, 1999, Denver intelligence officers "monitored" the office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where protesters gathered to car pool to a demonstration at the Air Force base sponsored by Citizens for Peace in Space, the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, and AFSC. The report notes that about 20 individuals arrived at the AFSC office, and it includes the license plate numbers of about a dozen vehicles, along with information identifying the owner and the organization with which the owner is identified. The report states that the demonstrators then left in four vehicles, which are identified by asterisks in the report. It states that the protesters who drove from Denver spent about an hour at the air force base, where they were joined by approximately 80 additional individuals. According to the report, "there were no arrests or incidents."

The report concludes by stating that "Colorado Springs PD and AF OSI monitored the group and will supply intelligence information soon."

"This document indicates that the Denver Police Department expected to receive information about the participants in a peaceful demonstration from both the Air Force Office of Special Investigations as well as the Colorado Springs Police Department," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "As the related document disclosed in November confirms, the Denver police did in fact receive license plate numbers and other identifying information about thirty individuals who were identified as participants, and that information went straight into the Denver police Spy Files."

"Although this document refers to intelligence information that the Denver police department expected to receive from the Air Force," Silverstein continued, "the sharing of intelligence information surely goes both ways. This document raises questions about the extent to which the Denver Police Department has shared information from the Spy Files – including the false and defamatory characterization of peaceful groups as "criminal extremist" — with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and other federal agencies as well."

The AFSC is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU's ongoing class action lawsuit that challenges the Denver Police Department's Spy Files and the practice of monitoring peaceful protesters and keeping files on the expressive activities of peaceful critics of government policy.

Click here for additional background about the Spy Files controversy

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