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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.

Englewood’s Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Ruled Unconstitutional

August 22, 2013

DENVER – In a case brought by ACLU attorneys, a federal district court yesterday invalidated an Englewood ordinance that restricts where persons convicted of certain sex offenses can live, ruling that the ordinance violates the Colorado Constitution.

Englewood’s ordinance makes it a crime for persons convicted of certain sex offenses to live within 2000 feet of any school, park, or playground, or 1000 feet of any licensed day care center, recreation center or swimming pool, or any property located next to a bus stop, walk-to-school route, or recreational trail.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that the ordinance “leaves essentially no place for offenders to live” and pushes sex offenders into neighboring cities, causing an impermissible conflict with “the state interest in the uniform treatment, management, rehabilitation, and reintegration of sex offenders during and after state supervision.”

“Local ordinances that ban sex offenders from living in a particular community provide a false sense of security,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “As the State Sex Offender Management Board has noted, these ordinances don’t prevent sex offenses and they don’t increase safety. Instead, they make communities less safe by interfering with offenders’ efforts to reintegrate into safe, stable, and supportive environments. And when town after town enacts similar restrictions, it poses the risk that sex offenders are driven underground and disconnected from treatment and supervision.”

The Sex Offender Management Board (“SOMB”), which is charged by the state legislature with evaluating and treating sex offenders, has urged communities not to enact local residency restrictions because blanket restrictions cause offenders to drop out of the statewide registration system and prevent offenders from successfully reintegrating into society.

The ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on behalf of Brett Ryals, who was unaware of the ordinance when he bought a home in Englewood in 2012. Mr. Ryals had served a two-year sentence from a 2001 felony conviction and had completed state-mandated treatment, rehabilitation, and parole. When he attempted to comply with his legal obligation to register his new address, he was informed that he was not permitted to live in Englewood.

The ruling will likely impact other Colorado jurisdictions, including Greenwood Village, Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Commerce City and Greeley, that have adopted similar ordinances.

The ACLU legal team, led by ACLU Cooperating Attorney Dan Williams of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, also included Jennifer Sullivan, Hetal Doshi, Shelby Myers, and ACLU Staff Attorney Sara Rich.


Learn more about this case.



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