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.

Sample Documents from the Spy Files

FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force
Spy Files documents indicating that the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force is tracking peaceful protesters. In connection with the litigation over the Denver Police Department’s Spy Files, the ACLU of Colorado obtained documents that indicate that the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) has been gathering information and building files on the activities of peaceful protesters who have no connection to terrorism or any other criminal activity. Click here to read more.

Multi-Agency Group Intelligence Conference (MAGIC)
Spy Files Documents relating to the 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 to swap political intelligence information at bimonthly meetings of a little-known organization known as the Multi-County Group Intelligence Conference (MAGIC). Click here to read more.

Additional Sample Documents from the Denver Spy Files
Denver Police Spy File, dated February 14, 1986, regarding Islamic Center & Mosque. The report states that “a religious service or other important gathering” was going on. Intelligence officers gathered a list of license plates of the vehicles parked in the lot and then ran each plate number through law enforcement computers.

Memorandum dated October 24, 1997 from Detective Tom Fisher, titled “Intelligence Categories,” in which American Friends Service Committee and Amnesty International are classified as “Anti-Government (Domestic).”

Statement of DPD officer Larry Valencia, dated May 12, 2000, recounting his undercover infiltration of a political meeting while wearing a transmitter. For Detective Ayon’s account of this undercover operation, which he refers to as an “ongoing investigation,” click here.

Spy File report dated January, 1983, stating that Denver police “covered” a demonstration in Boulder organized by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). The report states that the CU police will furnish photographs for the Denver police Spy Files.

Spy Files report dated May 4, 1983, stating that CU campus police provided information on CISPES at CU Boulder. The report, which states that “photos have been ordered” of the 3 individuals identified as leaders, advises that any information about their activities should be forwarded to CU Boulder campus police.

Spy File document dated January 16, 1984, stating that Colorado Springs police provided a list of license plate numbers of vehicles observed at a CISPES demonstration. The report was accompanied by a list of 101 individual names and plate numbers.

Email intended for members and supporters of Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, dated Aug. 20, 2001. This email, which explains that the animal rights organization would hold a garage sale to raise money to rent billboards to protest the Ringling Brothers Circus, was intercepted by Tim DeLaria of the UC Boulder police department. He forwarded it to George Kennedy and Kathy Miklich of the Denver Police Department’s Intelligence Unit.

Spy Files discussed in “They Know When You Are Sleeping,” by Katha Pollitt, originally published in The Nation, January 27, 2003

Memo by Detective Ray Ayon to Captain Don Saltzman, May 18, 2000, re Ongoing Investigation of DAN, Direct Action Network [PDF]
Denver Police Spy File on Glenn Morris
Denver Police Spy File on Mark Cohen
Denver Police Spy File on Marge Taniwaki
Denver Police Spy File on Cassandra Medrano

Spy File Document released by ACLU on January 22, 2003

Denver Police Spy File dated April 1, 1999, on AFSC participation in demonstration at Peterson Air Force in Colorado Springs [PDF]

Additional Spy File documents discussed in the ACLU’s news release of November 21, 2002

Denver Police Spy File on demonstration at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, dated April 6, 1999 [PDF]
Denver Police Spy File on lecture at Colorado College in Coloado Springs, dated April 8, 1998 [PDF]
Denver Police Spy File on conference on Space, Nukes and International Law, dated February 6, 1999 [PDF]
Denver Police Spy File on Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, dated April 12, 1999 [PDF]

For discussion and analysis of the foregoing four documents, see the ACLU’s news release dated November 21, 2002

Spy Files documents initially released at the ACLU’s news conference, March 11, 2003. These documents were also attached as exhibits to the Complaint that initiated the ACLU’s class action lawsuit on March 28, 2003

Chiapas Coalition [PDF]
Stephen Nash [PDF]
Vicki Nash [PDF]