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  • 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. 

  • 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.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

Retail Chain’s Policy Encourages Employees to Rely on Race in Theft Mitigation

November 26, 2013

DENVER – Hot Mama, a national retail chain with three locations in Colorado, encourages employees to rely on race as a factor in a theft mitigation policy that instructs them to target “potential thieves” that do not “look like the typical Hot Mama shopper.” The company’s policy further instructs employees to follow these “potential thieves” throughout the store to make them feel so uncomfortable that they leave and never return, according to a complaint sent today by the ACLU of Colorado to the chain’s headquarters.

The store’s written policy acknowledges that some customers will ask “Are you following me because of my race”? The policy advises employees, “Don’t worry about making them uncomfortable.” According to the policy, “That is your goal in this situation. The more uncomfortable they become, the quicker they leave… forever.”

“A retail business has an obligation to train its employees that race is not a proper consideration in identifying and targeting potential shoplifters,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “Instead, with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo, Hot Mama provides encouragement to employees who bring their racial prejudices and stereotypes to the job. Hot Mama’s policy gives the company’s blessing to racial targeting that is forbidden by state and federal anti-discrimination law.”

The ACLU of Colorado learned of the policy from a former Hot Mama manager, who questioned upper management about the racial component of the policy and was told that it was drafted as a response to “problems with black gangs” in Minnesota, where the company is headquartered.

According to Colorado law, it is illegal to refuse or deny a person “the full and equal enjoyment of goods and services” at a public place of accommodation because of race or color.

The ACLU’s letter, which was sent to Megan Tamte, CEO of Hot Mama, urges the company to “rescind its discriminatory policy and initiate company-wide training to ensure that Hot Mama employees no longer rely on race in dealing with customers.” A response is requested on or before December 13.

Visit the case page: https://aclu-co.org/case/hot-mama-theft-mitigation-policy

For the ACLU letter: https://aclu-co.orghttps://aclu-co.org/sites/default/files/2013-11-26%20Hot%20Mama-Rich_0.pdf

For the Hot Mama Theft Mitigation Policy: https://aclu-co.orghttps://aclu-co.org/sites/default/files/Hot%20Mama%20Theft%20Mitigation%20policy%20(2).pdf



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