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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.

Greeley Repeals “Median Ban” Challenged in ACLU Free Speech Lawsuit

DENVER – The City of Greeley has repealed an ordinance that banned pedestrians from being present on traffic medians “for longer than necessary to cross the street” following a lawsuit by ACLU of Colorado. In the lawsuit filed last month, ACLU lawyers asserted that the “median ban” violated the free speech rights of those engaging in expressive conduct on traffic medians, including individuals soliciting for charity. 

“Greeley adopted the median ban to target people experiencing poverty, but its reach was much broader,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. “All people have the First Amendment right to access public spaces like medians for expressive activities, including asking for charity, engaging in political speech and promoting businesses or organizations. Greeley’s restrictions on this conduct violated the Constitution.”

The city enacted the Median Ban in 2015 in an attempt to curb panhandling. Consistent with this purpose, all known citations issued by the Greeley Police Department under the ordinance were to individuals who were soliciting charity. Violators of the ordinance were subject to fines of up to $500.

When the ACLU’s lawsuit was filed on September 10, Greeley agreed to a court order forbidding enforcement. The repeal of the ordinance was then introduced at a City Council meeting on October 1, 2019. Following last night’s public hearing and final reading, the repeal will restore people’s right to stand freely on traffic medians in Greeley.

“We applaud the city’s actions in repealing this unconstitutional ordinance,” said ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney Arash Jahanian. “We encourage other cities to remove similar restrictions on the right to free expression, without the need for legal intervention.” 

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The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.



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