Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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: 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

  • 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. 

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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