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  • 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: acluco.org/redemption. 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 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.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Police Abuses Spark Calls for Internal Investigation; End to Pepper Ball Guns for Crowd Control

In an April 12, 2012 news release, the ACLU of Colorado announced it has submitted a detailed complaint to Denver Police Chief Robert White and the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor today, requesting a formal investigation of unreasonable and abusive use of force and other misconduct in policing Occupy Denver demonstrations at Civic Center Park last fall. The complaint calls for Chief White to ban on the use of pepper ball guns for crowd control.

Focused primarily on events that occurred October 29, 2011, the complaint traces police overreaction to a misguided and irresponsible decision to forcibly enforce a minor ordinance that prohibits erecting tents in city parks. The ACLU asserts that Denver police violated their own crowd control policies (as well as common sense) by needlessly antagonizing a large crowd of mostly peaceful demonstrators, prompting a confrontation that escalated in intensity and severity.

In the ensuing confrontation – documented in the ACLU complaint with photographs, video, and excerpts from police reports – Denver police responded with abusive use of batons (knocking nonviolent demonstrators to the ground); needless destruction of personal property; and the unjustifiably hazardous shooting of pepper ball guns into crowds.

“Shooting pepper balls into a crowd of demonstrators, especially a crowd of moving people, is reckless and extremely dangerous,” explained Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “The Boston police learned this several years ago, when a police pepper ball hit a bystander in the eye and killed her. We call on Chief White to forbid police from firing these dangerous weapons into crowds of persons who are exercising their First Amendment rights.”

A copy of the ACLU’s complaint will also go to the United States Department of Justice, which is still considering the ACLU’s call —made last year in a detailed 26-page letter — for a federal investigation of the Denver Police Department’s pattern of civil rights violations. Denver has resisted that call, maintaining that its police department can adequately investigate allegations of police misconduct.



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