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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.

State Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Case of Gay Couple Discriminated Against by Bakery

7/7/15

DENVER – The Colorado Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today in a discrimination case brought by a same-sex couple against a cake shop that refused to sell them a cake for their wedding reception.

In 2012, Colorado residents David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a wedding cake.  Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed the couple that, because of his religious beliefs, it was his standard business practice to refuse to provide cakes to customers for same-sex weddings. Phillips has turned away several other couples for the same reason.

“As marriage equality becomes law all across the nation, it’s especially disheartening that we’re still fighting this battle where businesses like Masterpiece Cakeshop feel they can violate the law and discriminate against us just because of who we are and who we love,” said Mullins. His partner Craig added, “It’s time we moved on from using religion as an excuse to discriminate. No one should be told they are less than anyone else, especially at a joyous time like a wedding.”

Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits businesses, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on factors including race, sex, national origin, or sexual orientation. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Colorado filed suit on behalf of Mullins and Craig in 2013. In December 2013, an administrative law judge ruled that the bakery had illegally discriminated against the couple. In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission affirmed that ruling. Masterpiece Cakeshop appealed.

“Nobody gets to pick and choose which laws they want to follow,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “If a business owner is allowed to simply cite personal beliefs as a basis for turning away same-sex couples, then what stops a doctor from denying medical care to the child of same-sex parents or a police officer from refusing to defend a church or a synagogue?”

“This case is not about cake.  It’s about longstanding civil rights laws that ensure that businesses open to the public are open to everyone,” said Ria Mar, Staff Attorney for the ACLU LGBT and AIDS Project, who argued the case this morning before the Court.

For more information about Charlie Craig and David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop: https://www.aclu.org/cases/charlie-craig-and-david-mullins-v-masterpiece-cakeshop?redirect=lgbt-rights/charlie-craig-and-david-mullins-v-masterpiece-cakeshop

 

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The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.



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