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. 

Settlement reached in civil rights lawsuit over flashlight beating by former Colorado Springs police officer

Elizabeth Harris, ACLU cooperating attorney, 303.389.4647
Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director, 303.777.5482 x114

The ACLU of Colorado announced today that it had reached an agreement with the City of Colorado Springs to resolve a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last summer that alleged that a Springs police officer beat the ACLU’s client, Delvikio Faulkner, multiple times in the head with a heavy-duty police flashlight after a traffic stop in July, 2005.

“The City of Colorado Springs has agreed to pay compensation to our client, who suffered a brutal and unjustified beating,” said Elizabeth Harris, of Jacobs, Chase, Frick, Kleinkopf & Kelley, an ACLU cooperating attorney who represented Delvikio Faulkner in the case.

The beating prompted an internal investigation that found that the officer, Kenneth Hardy, used excessive force against an unarmed suspect who posed no physical threat.  While Hardy was appealing that finding, he was terminated for other reasons.

“The City deserves credit for taking responsibility and promptly resolving this lawsuit against a former officer,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director.   “The City properly recognized the seriousness of the allegations.  A blow to the head from these heavy-duty police flashlights can be fatal—it is the equivalent of using deadly force.”

According to the lawsuit, Officer Hardy delivered six blows from the flashlight, including three to Mr. Faulkner’s head.  The blows continued long after it was clear that Mr. Faulkner was not resisting.  Faulkner required hospital treatment, including eight staples to close the head wounds.

The federal civil rights suit was filed only after an earlier round of litigation in state court between the ACLU and the City of Colorado Springs.  After receiving the ACLU’s request for the internal investigation file, the City refused to disclose it and instead sued the ACLU in state court, asking it to declare that the file was not subject to disclosure under the Colorado open records laws.  The ACLU won that suit early in 2007, and it obtained the full investigative file on the beating of Mr. Faulkner. 

The federal court suit, Faulkner v. Hardy, followed shortly thereafter.

Additional ACLU cooperating attorneys representing Mr. Faulkner were N. Reid Neureiter and Kathryn A. Reilly, colleagues of Ms. Harris at the Jacobs Chase law firm.

About the ACLU of Colorado
The ACLU is a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the principles of the Bill of Rights through litigation, advocacy and public education.  The ACLU Foundation of Colorado works to protect the rights of all Coloradans. 

Return to News