Colorado Rights Blog



  • 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. 

  • 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.

Multi-Agency Group Intelligence Conference (MAGIC)

Documents obtained by the ACLU from the Denver Police Spy Files litigation reveal that intelligence officers from at least two dozen Colorado law enforcement agencies meet to swap political intelligence information at bimonthly meetings of a little-known organization known as the Multi-Agency Group Intelligence Conference (MAGIC).

Announcement of MAGIC meeting
Anouncement of MAGIC meeting, January 19, 1993. According to this announcement, MAGIC meetings are “limited to sharing of information on extremist groups (left-wing, right-wing, foreign).” Although the term “extremist groups” is not defined, MAGIC-related documents indicate that it includes peaceful protesters who have no connection to criminal activity, such as the American Indian Movement, the American Friends Service Committee, End The Politics of Cruelty, and Amnesty International (see below).

Agendas for MAGIC meetings
Agenda for MAGIC meeting, listing discussion topics including American Indian Movement, environmentalists, the “green movement,” “animal rights,” “right wing,” “white supremacist,” and “leftist.”

List of discussion topics, including: Demonstrations, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, and AIM. This document, found in the same file folder as other MAGIC documents, is apparently part of an agenda for another MAGIC meeting.

Protest against police brutality listed as “MAGIC info”
Memorandum by Detective Abe Alonzo, dated March 3, 1998, regarding End the Politics of Cruelty and its upcoming “protest against police brutality,” with post-it indicating it will be discussed at an upcoming MAGIC meeting.

Memorandum by Detective Abe Alonzo, dated March 3, 1998, without the post-it.

MAGIC attended by 44 officers, two dozen agencies
Sign-up sheet for MAGIC meeting, with names of 44 law enforcement officers from more than two dozen law enforcement agencies

Click here to review sample documents from the Spy Files that indicate that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is gathering information on peaceful protesters

Click here to review additional sample documents from the Denver Police Spy Files