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.

2018 ACLU of Colorado Bill of Rights Dinner

The ACLU of Colorado’s Bill of Rights Dinner is an annual event where we come together to celebrate our victories, honor our leaders, and inspire our community to continue the critical work of defending and preserving civil rights and civil liberties for all. All funds raised by the Bill of Rights Dinner provide crucial support to sustain and expand the ACLU of Colorado’s vital legal, advocacy, communication, and education work throughout the state.

The awards will be given out at our annual  Dinner on Thursday, September 27th at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Denver.

Online ticket sales have closed. Please contact Rachel at 720-402-3105 or for availability.


2018 Bill of Rights Dinner Honorees

Alex Landau will receive the Ralph Carr Award

Alex is a father, a community member, a human rights advocate and African-American. He was adopted when he was an infant by a white family and raised primarily in white communities and educated in white schools. In 2009, Alex survived an extreme case of race-based brutality at the hands of Denver police officers. This became the catalyst for the movement he is now engaged in. Alex does this work through a lens of passion and intersectionality. He believes that acknowledging the impact of intersectional oppression (race, gender, age etc.) is critical to understanding how others who are different from us experience injustice. Passion is important to authenticity and endurance. Alex finds himself speaking to a variety of listeners ranging from elementary school and university students to scholars across the country. He won an Emmy award for an animated short he put together with StoryCorps animation team about his experience with police violence. (Traffic Stop was the name of the film). Alex often finds himself on the front lines with community navigating the grassroots and political sector. He also collaborates with people and groups around the country and abroad who engage in similar work. He believes that collectively we are using our personal narratives to build networks, exchange, learn and grow from past and present experiences. Alex has pioneered several efforts in the Denver metropolitan area including an unprecedented recall effort of the current district attorney as well as going into jails in the Denver area and registering people to vote who are eligible.

Chuck Plunkett will receive the Larry Tajiri Media Award

Chuck Plunkett will begin directing the University of Colorado’s News Corps capstone program within its department of journalism in August 2018. He served as The Denver Post‘s editorial page editor from July 2016 to May 2018. A professional journalist for more than 20 years, he served as The Post‘s politics editor from July 2011 through July 2016. Plunkett worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, his hometown paper, and for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review before coming to The Denver Post in 2003, where he ultimately began developing his writing about politics as the newsroom’s lead writer covering Denver’s preparation for the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Dave Krieger will receive the Larry Tajiri Media Award

Dave Krieger has been a Colorado journalist since 1981. He has worked for the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post, KOA radio, and the Boulder Daily Camera, in both news and sports, as a reporter, columnist, editorial writer and editorial page editor. Krieger was inspired to go into journalism by the work of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the Washington Post in the early 1970s. He dropped out of college at age 20 to take his first newspaper job. His career has taken him from the New Hampshire Presidential Primary to the Beijing Olympic Games, including a brief stint as press secretary to U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont in the late 1970s.

Amy Robertson and Tim Fox will receive the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award

Amy Robertson and Tim Fox are Co-Executive Directors of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, a nationwide civil rights organization based in Denver with an office in California. (They are also married to each other.)  Tim and Amy have litigated more than 15 civil rights class actions, as well as numerous other civil rights actions on behalf of individuals and organizations. In the last several years, they have settled class actions with the cities of Denver, Seattle, and Portland, as well as the Colorado and Montana Departments of Corrections, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and the Pepsi Center. The dollar value of the injunctive relief that CREEC has obtained over this period is in excess of $500 million. They have taught and spoken on a wide variety of civil rights topics, including class actions, architectural access, and effective communication for Deaf people.  In 2017, CREEC established a new project, investigating immigration detention facilities for violations of the Constitution and federal law. They anticipate bringing at least one class action in this area by the end of the year.

Bill of Rights Dinner Speaker
Lorella Praeli

Lorella Praeli is a freedom fighter, movement builder, policy advocate, and agitator. She is the ACLU’s Deputy National Political Director and Director of Immigration Policy and Campaigns, where she defends the rights of immigrants and refugees and builds power to develop, reaffirm, and vastly expand pro-immigrant measures in states and localities of resistance. Most recently, she was the National Latino Vote Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Prior to joining to the campaign, Lorella served as Director of Advocacy and Policy of United We Dream, the country’s largest immigrant youth-led organization, where she led the advocacy campaign to implement DACA, and was part of the team that persuaded the Obama administration to protect four million undocumented Americans through Deferred Action for Parents of Americans.

Lorella got her start in Connecticut, where she co-founded and directed CT Students for a Dream and led the organization’s efforts to pass and implement tuition equity for undocumented students. She immigrated from Ica, Peru to New Milford, Connecticut with her family at the age of ten, where she grew up undocumented. Lorella graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Quinnipiac University.


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, please contact Rachel at 720-402-3105 or

Click here to view our sponsorship levels: 2018 ACLU Bill of Rights Dinner Sponsorship

Thank you to the following sponsors:

Circle of Liberty
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP

Justice Council
Recht Kornfeld PC

Freedom League
The Advocates and TLSS
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP
The Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Haddon Morgan and Foreman, PC
Hutchinson Black and Cook, LLC
Johnson & Klein, PLLC
Mendez Consulting, Inc.
Range Law and Policy and BOLD Legal
Rathod Mohamedbhai
The Sawaya Law Firm
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, LLP

BakerHostetler LLP
Bob Connelly
Elkind Alterman Harston PC
Frank & Salahuddin LLC
King & Greisen LLP
Lowrey Parady, LLC
Strategies 360
Tierney Lawrence LLC

Colorado Bar Association
Holland, Holland Edwards & Grossman, PC

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
David Cover
Todd Hoffman
Lee & Sandy Mulcahy, in honor of Bud Mulcahy

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