Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.

Statement on the Judgment that Denver Sheriff’s Deputies Used Excessive Force in the Death of Marvin Booker

October 14, 2014

DENVER – A federal court jury today found Denver sheriff’s deputies used excessive force against Rev. Marvin L. Booker, who died at the Denver Jail in 2010, and awarded Rev. Booker’s family $4.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages.

ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley issued the following statement:

“The ACLU of Colorado offers somber congratulations to the family of Rev. Marvin L. Booker and the attorneys that delivered justice today in the form of a record judgment against the City of Denver and the sheriff’s deputies who took Rev. Booker’s life.  Marvin Booker was killed by excessive force, and no judgment can change that, but a clear message was sent today that the public demands accountability from law enforcement officers and the officials who oversee them.

“The City of Denver’s internal investigation in 2011 concluded that the deputies violated no policies and would face no discipline for putting the 56 year-old Booker in a chokehold, kneeling on his back while he was pinned to the ground, and shocking him with a taser while he was handcuffed, ultimately causing his death.

“As the ACLU of Colorado noted in our 2011 letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, ‘that decision, that a homicide carried out by Sheriff’s deputies carries no consequences, that Denver’s policies allow Sheriff’s deputies to take a prisoner’s life, fueled the already burning outrage in communities policed by Denver Law enforcement, especially among communities of color.’  Today, justice was delivered for the Booker family, but more needs to be done to stop law enforcement misconduct and to ensure that what happened to Marvin Booker does not happen again.

Read the 2011 ACLU letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the pattern and practice of police misconduct and civil rights violations by Denver Law enforcement:

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