Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

New Smartphone App Empowers Coloradans to Witness and Record Interactions with Law Enforcement



Denver – The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado today launched Mobile Justice Colorado, a new police accountability tool that empowers Coloradans to witness and record police interactions and to submit cell phone videos of civil rights abuses directly to the ACLU of Colorado, so they cannot be deleted or destroyed.

Mobile Justice CO is available in English and Spanish for use on Android and iOS phones and can be downloaded for free through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. The app, which was officially launched this morning at an event in front of the Denver Police Headquarters, enables users to record, witness, and report interactions with law enforcement, and also includes a built-in “Know Your Rights” guide.

“Several recent high-profile cases in Colorado and throughout the country have demonstrated the critical role that cell phone video recordings can play in holding law enforcement accountable for their actions,” said ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley. “Recording police is a fundamental right, and we encourage everyone to use it.”

The functions of the app include:

  • Record– empowers users to record their interactions with law enforcement in audio and video files that are automatically sent to the ACLU of Colorado, so that they cannot be deleted or destroyed.
  • Witness– alerts nearby Mobile Justice Colorado users when another user is stopped by police, so that they can move toward the location and document the interaction.
  • Report– gives users the option to provide a more-detailed account of their interactions with police in an incident report, which will be transmitted directly to the ACLU of Colorado.
  • Rights– provides an overview of individual rights and how to protect them when recording or interacting with law enforcement officers.

The ACLU of Colorado recently won dismissal of criminal obstruction charges against Ryan Brown, an African American man who recorded a traffic stop by Colorado Springs police in which officers pulled him from the vehicle at gunpoint, threw him to the ground, searched him, and cuffed him without identifying the reason for the stop, which turned out to be a cracked windshield. While dragging him to the ground, officers took Brown’s phone, turned off the video, and threw it in the snow. Brown’s recording of the stop drew national attention and accumulated over 155,000 views on Youtube.

“Internal affairs documents revealed that the officer who shoved Ryan Brown’s face in the snow didn’t recall his own actions until he saw them later on the cell phone recording,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “Were it not for Ryan’s recording, which could have easily been destroyed, the officer’s recollection of the events might have gone unchallenged, and the truth might never have been discovered.”

In the 2015 legislative session, the ACLU of Colorado supported HB 1290, the first legislation in the country to affirmatively declare a right to record police officers.  The bill passed both chambers of the Colorado legislature and was signed into law by the Governor.

“Government and law enforcement surveillance is constantly expanding,” said ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes. “Mobile Justice Colorado gives people the power to turn the cameras around on their government and law enforcement and to hold them accountable for abuses and rights violations.”

Learn more about Mobile Justice Colorado and download the app from the ACLU of Colorado’s website at

Download from the App Store at:

Download from Google Play at:

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