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.

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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