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?
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.
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.
ACLU Sues Mesa County Judge, Sheriffs Who Caused Boulder Woman 15 Days in Jail Without Opportunity for Pretrial Release
April 27, 2021 DENVER – In a filing this morning in federal district court, ACLU lawyers sued the Chief Judge in Mesa County, Brian Flynn, as well as Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis and Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. The complaint alleges that the three defendants are responsible for unnecessarily and unjustifiably causing the ACLU’s client, Michelle Reynolds, to spend fifteen harrowing days locked up in jail with no opportunity to post bond and obtain pretrial release. “People who.... | Read More
Support SB21-062: The status quo is killing us
You might know Michael Marshall as the mentally ill, homeless man killed by sheriff’s deputies in the Denver jail, but to me he was Uncle Mike. Son of John Marshall and Hattie Lee Black-Marshall, Uncle Mike was a loving man, willing to do what he could for his family and other people experiencing homelessness. He had a contagious laugh and presence that brought joy at holidays and Sunday dinners. Because he lived with schizophrenia and the stigma that goes along with mental illness and poverty,.... | Read More
ACLU Statement on Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict
April 20, 2021 MINNEAPOLIS — A jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. The following statement can be attributed to Jason Williamson, deputy director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project: “George Floyd will never make his way home to play games with his daughter, Gianna. He’ll never go on walks through the park with his beloved fiancée Courteney or play basketball with his brother, Philonise. While.... | Read More
Bill of Rights Event Nominations
We are accepting nominations for Bill of Rights Event honorees until May 14, 2021. Please help us recognize the Colorado leaders protecting and extending our civil rights and civil liberties by nominating deserving individuals, groups, firms, or organizations. Information about each of the awards and past honorees can be found both at the survey link and the nomination form below. To submit your nomination, complete this online form. If you would like to submit your nomination via email,.... | Read More
A Letter from June Fraser Thistle
I am writing to ask you to support SB21-062 because had this bill been law, it could have saved my son’s life. Our son, Jerid Jason Thistle, was a loving son and father. He struggled with an addiction to methamphetamines that led to mental health issues. We had a plan for Jerid to move home to Washington. It was his dream to open a home mechanic shop on our property. He was a terrific mechanic. You can ask anyone who works at the Alamosa Sheriff’s office. They all had their vehicles fixed.... | Read More
My brother, Marvin Booker, was 56 years old when he was killed. Marvin was a peaceful street preacher who also struggled with mental illness and drug use. None of this changed the fact that he was a kind and loving man. He was no risk to anyone. What haunts me when I think about his life, about all the years he worked to do good in this world, are the handful of minutes it took to end it. A little over ten years ago, the Denver police arrested Marvin on a low-level drug charge. While being.... | Read More