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.

2015 Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner

Thursday, October 8th
Four Seasons Hotel 
Denver, Colorado

Congratulations to our 2015 honorees!

UdallM-021009-18431- 0007Senator Mark Udall, Member of U.S. Congress 1999-2015, will be receiving the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award

Sen. Udall has championed bipartisan legislation to balance the nation’s budget, protect our public lands and establish a tough, but smart, national security policy. Sen. Udall, who served on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, led the bipartisan effort to rein in the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ personal data. He also has been an unwavering advocate for strong, independent oversight of the CIA. He was one of the leading advocates for releasing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA’s brutal and ineffective detention and interrogation program.


nita facebookNita Gonzales, noted community activist, educator, and nationally recognized leader, will be receiving the Ralph Carr Award

Nita is the President/CEO of Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, a nationally recognized model for Chicano/Mexicano and indigenous education located in Denver, CO. Nita also has a long record of supporting causes and activities that promote the economic, political, social, and educational strength of Latinos and underserved populations. She is a founder of the Chicano/Mexicano Education Coalition, the Denver Youth Employment and Education Task Force, and co-founder of the Colorado Latino Forum. She also is a board member of numerous organizations working to promote the welfare of the Latino community including Clinica Tepayac, the Denver City and County Community Oversight Board, and a member of the President’s Cabinet for Metropolitan State College.


2015 Carle Whitehead Bill of Rights Dinner Keynote Speaker

Alex Abdo - Headshot (large crop)Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney in the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project

In Alex’s seven years at the ACLU, he has been involved in the litigation of cases concerning the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the treatment of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Navy brig in South Carolina. Last year, he argued the ACLU’s challenge to the NSA’s phone-records program in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 



We are seeking sponsorships for this year’s dinner, and we hope you will consider joining us as a key sponsor of this event. For more information about the sponsorship levels and benefits, as well as a form, please click here. If you have questions regarding sponsorship or would like to make your commitment over the phone, please contact Rachel Pryor-Lease, Stewardship and Events Manager, at 720-402-3105 or

Thank you to our 2015 sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor
Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor

Circle of Liberty
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP

Justice Council
Recht Kornfeld PC
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell

Freedom League
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Haddon, Morgan, and Foreman, P.C.
Holland & Hart LLP
King & Greisen LLP
Carl J. Minnig Foundation, Max Minnig Jr. & Associates and Don Bounds (in memoriam)
The Sawaya Law Firm

Bob Connelly
Elkind Alterman Harston PC
Kendall, Koenig & Oelsner PC
Lowrey Parady, LLC
Mendez Consulting
Nita Gonzales                                                                                                                                             Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC                                                                                                       Tierney Paul Lawrence LLP
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Vicente Sederberg

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP
Steve and Lee Rittvo


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