Tweets

Colorado Rights Blog

Videos

  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: acluco.org/redemption. Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • 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. 

“Gypsy Scam” Bulletin released by Arapahoe Sheriff Criticized by ACLU

In a letter dated July 16, 2012, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado demanded that Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson rescind a recent Sheriff’s Office alert titled “Gypsy Scams” that could result in the racial profiling of persons described by the Sheriff’s Office as “Gypsies.”

The Sheriff’s Office bulletin describes a “Gypsy” as a “medium to dark complexioned Caucasian” with “dark hair and dark eyes” who “are often mistaken as Hispanic.” In the document, the Sheriff’s Office warns that “Gypsies” target the elderly and commit major crimes like home repair frauds and burglaries.

In the ACLU letter, Staff Attorney Sara Rich noted that the Sheriff’s physical description of “Gypsies” covered a wide swatch of the population, and the Sheriff’s warning that this group commits major crimes “can only serve to heighten any preexisting biases that community members may already have against ethnic groups that fit this general description, including Latinos.”

The letter criticizes the Sheriff for encouraging the community to regard persons as suspicious on the basis of physical appearance and thereby “subjecting countless innocent individuals to the risk of potential discrimination and harassment.”

“The investigation of crime should focus on behavior, not complexion,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “To avoid racial profiling, law enforcement must discard ethnic stereotypes and focus on specific evidence about specific individuals. When communicating with the public, law enforcement must be especially careful to reject profiling and ethnic stereotyping.”

The ACLU’s letter noted that similar police bulletins targeting persons described as “Gypsies” prompted litigation charging a New Jersey police department with illegal racial profiling. In that case, the court said it was “disturbed” by police department alerts which sweepingly referred to “Gypsies” as “transient criminal families and individuals.”

The ACLU demanded that the “Gypsy Scam” bulletin be immediately rescinded. Attorneys for the organization also asked that the Sheriff issue a public statement that: 1) retracts previous comments about so-called “Gypsy scams” and 2) condemns discrimination against any person based on race, ethnicity or physical appearance.

Invoking the Colorado open records laws, the ACLU also demanded that the Sheriff release copies of its records related to “Gypsies” and “Gypsy scams” in Arapahoe County.

Arapahoe County includes 13 incorporated cities and towns, including Aurora, Centennial and Littleton. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the county has a population that exceeds 572,000 people. In the 2010 Census, nearly 20 percent of households responding self-identified as Hispanic or non-White.

Find more information on the docket page for this case.

Read the letter to Sheriff Robinson.

Read our news release calling for Sheriff Robinson to rescind "gypsy scams" bulletin.

Read ACLU's congratulatory letter to Sheriff Robinson following his positive response to our July 16 letter.



Return to News