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. 

We’re Watching and Listening at Occupy Denver

Based on news stories, video, and reports from participants and legal observers at Occupy Denver, attorneys at the ACLU are concerned that what had initially been characterized as a policy of admirable restraint in regard to activists at the Occupy Denver site has now evolved into an unwise policy of unnecessarily confrontational and provocative police tactics.

“Denver police commanders made a serious mistake when they sent riot-equipped officers into a crowd of protesters for the purpose of dismantling tents,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. “In order to enforce a minor ordinance that forbids erecting tents in parks, officers angered the crowd and provoked an unnecessary physical confrontation that led to arrests and reports of excessive and unjustifiable force. There was no emergency that required immediate police action to take down the tents.”

To further investigate reports of excessive force, the ACLU on Tuesday filed comprehensive requests with the Denver Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol for use-of-force reports, after-action reports and other documents relating to recent enforcement actions with regard to Occupy Denver.

“From its beginnings at Lincoln Park, the ACLU of Colorado has watched and listened at Occupy Denver,” said ACLU Executive Director C. Ray Drew. “We have distributed information on individual rights when dealing with the police and maintained a steady presence. At the end of the day, our vigilance speaks to core mission: the protection of civil rights and civil liberties for all people.”

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