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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.

FBI conducts surveillance of Denver bookstore and records license plate numbers of vehicles

As part of a “domestic terrorism” investigation, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force conducted surveillance of a Denver bookstore on February 15, 2003, and monitored 40 persons who gathered there to carpool to an antiwar demonstration in Colorado Springs later that day, according to an FBI report the ACLU of Colorado released today. The document, the latest the ACLU obtained in response to a series of requests under the Freedom of Information Act, indicates that the FBI also recorded the descriptions and license plate numbers of a dozen cars “in the vicinity” of the now-closed radical bookstore, Breakdown Books, located at the time in the 1400 block of Ogden Street.

Last December, the ACLU released a related document indicating that the FBI opened its investigation of the antiwar march four days earlier, on the basis of announcements the FBI encountered on the websites of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center and the Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace. According to that document, the FBI noted that a third group calling itself Revolutionary Anti War Response (RAWR), which the FBI characterized as “more radical,” also promoted the antiwar demonstration and announced it would start with the main group and then conduct a “break out” demonstration” at another Colorado Springs location. The FBI report noted that participants were invited to meet on the morning of the protest to carpool. In the report, the FBI said it would “effect surveillance” at the Denver location and relay information to FBI agents who were working with city police in Colorado Springs.

According to the report released today, FBI agents spent two hours watching Breakdown Bookstore, counting about 40 persons who gathered there. The FBI report describes a dozen nearby vehicles and records their license plate numbers.

“This report raises more questions about the degree to which the FBI is unjustifiably regarding demonstrations and public dissent as potential terrorism,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “Why is the FBI conducting surveillance of a bookstore, monitoring the persons who gather there, and keeping files with lists of license plate numbers?”

   The related report released in December, 2005, is available at http://www.aclu-co.org/spyfiles/Documents/fbi_co_campaign_middle_east_2-11-03_report.pdf
   Additional information about the FBI’s collection of information about political activities is available here.



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