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.
John Linko’s Blog: ACLU Weighs In on Ordinances
John Linko, a blogger from Grand Junction writes about the "emergency" ordinances. Read his thoughts here. | Read More
“Nonlethal” force can kill
Guest commentary for the Denver Post by Mark Silverstein and Mindy Barton The tragic death of 22-year-old Ryan Wilson on August 4th has justifiably re-focused public attention on the dangers posed when police fire their new high-powered electroshock weapons. Sold by Taser International (TI), tasers are promoted to the public as devices that can save lives when police would otherwise use firearms. The public is less aware, however, that police departments, with TI's blessing, encourage and authorize.... | Read More
Citing In-Custody Deaths, ACLU Calls for Policy Change to Limit Use of Tasers
Citing an increasing number of in-custody deaths associated with law enforcement use of electroshock weapons, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU) called on Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman today to tighten the Department's use-of-force policy and restrict officers' use of the taser to situations that present a true threat to human life or safety. "Tasers are often promoted to the public on the ground that they can save lives in situations where police would.... | Read More
ACLU Launches Nationwide Action Against NSA Snooping on Americans
The ACLU of Colorado Is One of Twenty State Affiliates Urging Local Officials to Investigate Phone Companies’ Cooperation with Spy Agency; FCC Action Also Sought. Responding to reports that phone companies are enabling illegal government spying by turning over private details about Americans’ telephone calls to the National Security Agency, the American Civil Liberties Union today sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission demanding an investigation. In addition, the ACLU.... | Read More
ACLU applauds Boulder Valley School District
A spokesperson for the ACLU of Colorado announced today that it welcomes a decision of the Boulder Valley School District (“BVSD”) to limit searches of students’ cell phone text messages, an issue the ACLU raised in a letter made public in October, 2007. In that letter, the ACLU asserted that non-consensual searches of text messages violate a Colorado criminal statute designed to protect the privacy of telephone and electronic communications. New guidelines state that before searching.... | Read More
School administrators violate Colorado law, constitutional rights by searching students’ text messages
Administrators at Monarch High School are committing felonies under Colorado law and violating students’ privacy by seizing students’ cell phones, reading their text messages, and making transcriptions to place in students’ permanent files, according to a letter sent today by the ACLU of Colorado to the Boulder Valley School District Board of Education. The ACLU’s letter calls on the Board of Education to put a stop to the practice at Monarch High School. “The.... | Read More