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.

Annual Members Meeting with Vanita Gupta

UPDATE: The meeting was incredible! Log on to our Facebook page, to see pictures from the evening.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to meet fellow civil libertarians from all across Colorado. In addition to updates from ACLU staff, the evening’s keynote speaker will be Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, and Director of the organization's newly formed Center for Justice. Vanita and her staff address systematic problems in the U.S. criminal justice system, including the treatment of prisoners, the death penalty, and the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. Tickets are FREE for members. Not a current member? Join at the door for $20 ($5 for students)

From 2006-2010, Vanita was a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, where she won a landmark settlement on behalf of immigrant children detained in a privately run ICE detention center in Texas. Watch a video of the Tulia story here.

Prior to the ACLU, Vanita was at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund where she successfully led the effort to overturn the wrongful drug convictions of 38 defendants in Tulia, Texas. She will discuss the state of criminal justice reform in Colorado and around the country, as seen through both legislative efforts and current cases.

This is also an opportunity to learn about the ACLU’ s plans for growth over the next year. We have been selected by our national organization to join the Strategic Affiliate Initiative (SAI) program, which invests additional resources into a few key states where the largest opportunities exist for significant advancement of civil liberties. You won’t want to miss this live presentation.  So mark your calendar for Saturday, February 19, 6:00 p.m. University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, Room 165, 2255 E. Evans Avenue. Tickets are FREE for members.  contact Parisa Zohoori, or call 303.777.5482 x105. 1.5 CLE credits available for $20, but FREE for young attorneys (first 5 years after the bar). Beverages and light snacks included. Parking in the adjacent garage is available for $5. 

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