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 of Colorado Statement on Boulder Shooting
March 23, 2021 DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Deborah Richardson, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director. “We are heartbroken over the loss of ten lives during the horrific attack in Boulder yesterday. Our deepest sympathies go out to those whose loved ones lost their lives, were injured, or were otherwise impacted by this tragedy. “While much remains unknown about this shooting, we call on elected officials not to politicize this tragedy for political gain. We.... | Read More
Counselors, Not Cops: Heidi Laursen and her son, J.L.
Learn more and take action here. “I have never as a parent been tested like I have with this situation with J.L.” As the mother of four children with four different personalities and learning styles Heidi Laursen was used to wearing different hats to advocate for her kids. She had one daughter who was in gifted programs, who all the teachers loved, one with a variety of strengths and talents, who rarely required additional support, and another daughter who had dyslexia and required.... | Read More
Counselors, Not Cops: Shandie Harris and her son, J.J.
Learn more and take action here. “I’m worried about him ending up like Elijah McClain.” Shandie Harris fears for her son J.J.’s life every day. As a six foot tall, 230 pound young Black man, teachers and law enforcement often see 16-year-old J.J. as a threat. J.J. has autism and learns at a 5th grade level. He has an IEP but that hasn’t been enough to shield him from bias and a system determined to misunderstand his needs. “He doesn’t look like he has a disability,” Shandie.... | Read More
Counselors, Not Cops: Michelle Hanson and her son, A.V.
Learn more and take action here. “One of A.V.’s struggles is he doesn’t advocate for himself very well. Will he ever feel comfortable advocating for himself and his friends again? Will he ever feel safe talking to a police officer again?” Michelle Hanson always wanted her kids to go to their neighborhood schools until the day her 11-year-old son A.V. ended up handcuffed in the back of a police car for hours, sobbing, injured, and traumatized. Like most young people, A.V. is.... | Read More
ACLU Files Lawsuit Against Douglas County School District, Sheriff and SROs for Handcuffing an 11-year-old Child With Autism
March 9, 2021 DENVER – ACLU of Colorado filed suit today against the Douglas County School District, Douglas County Sheriff and several School Resource Officers (SROs) after they aggressively handcuffed an eleven-year-old Hispanic child with autism and left him in a patrol car for hours, causing him to become so dysregulated that he banged his head repeatedly and sustained injuries. Without seeking medical attention, officers drove the child to a juvenile detention center and placed him in.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Statement on the Aurora Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain’s Death
February 23, 2021 DENVER – The following statement can be attributed to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director for ACLU of Colorado. “The Aurora independent investigation report confirms in stark terms what the community has long understood: Aurora police killed Elijah McClain. Mr. McClain was the innocent victim of multiple violations of longstanding law that is supposed to limit the authority of law enforcement. Aurora police had no grounds to stop Mr. McClain in the first place. They had.... | Read More