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. 

R2J Coalition to City Council: We Need a New Independent Monitor Now

On Monday, the 2012 Martin Luther King Day Holiday, the ACLU Race To Justice Coalition called on Denver City Council to demand a start to the process of bringing a new Independent Monitor to the city..

In a letter on behalf of the Coalition, ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes wrote: "In Denver, high-profile police brutality – and high-dollar police brutality lawsuit settlements – have become, sadly, all too common. … On Friday to the astonishment of many, the civil service commission reinstated two fired police officers with back pay to 2009, causing flashbacks for the victims of police brutality with whom we work and raising widespread questions from the public, activists and the media.

"It is for all these reasons that the Race to Justice coalition, a group of faith leaders, civil rights organizations and those directly affected by police violence and misconduct, write to ask you to call on Mayor Michael Hancock to move decisively to start the process to fill the position of the Independent Monitor," Maes continued.

As we await a response from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding our call for an independent investigation of police brutality and unsafe police practices in Denver, read the letter and call your Council member so that Mayor Hancock will fill the position of Independent Monitor now.


On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, the Denver Post published an important guest commentary by Race 2 Justice activist Mark Cohen. Read it here.

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