ACLU Charges Racist Practices Against Aurora Police

A look at the listed lawyers making headlines in Colorado.

In the News: Colorado 2019
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

February 20, 2019 10:06 AM

In the Headlines

King & Greisen: Paula Greisen (Employment Law – Individuals; Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2006) represented a 20-year-old transgender woman pro bono in her lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Corrections over “discriminatory and dangerous” conditions. Lindsay Saunders-Velez, who filed the suit, was transferred to a men’s prison from a center for female juveniles. Saunders-Velez was later placed in a “punishment pod” at the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, where she was sexually abused by male inmates. “This issue is not going to go away,” Greisen said. “We’re going to fight it until these individuals are treated with the respect they deserve.”

Leventhal & Puga: Hollynd Hoskins (Personal\ Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2013) represented Curtis Brooks, who was arrested for a fatal carjacking when he was 15 years old. Brooks was sentenced as a juvenile to life without parole, a sentence deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 2012 ruling and made to apply retroactively in a January 2016 ruling. Brooks completed his GED and took college courses in prison as Hoskins and his other attorneys continued to petition for clemency. In December 2018, Brooks was praised for his rehabilitation and accountability, and was approved for release on parole in July 2019. “This is a great day,” Hoskins told press after the announcement. “Curtis wants everyone to know that he will not let them down.”

Tiftickjian Law Firm: Jay Tiftickjian (DUI/ DWI Defense, 2018) assisted the Colorado State Demographer’s Office in creating an interactive map of the state’s DUI arrests based on census data of those living in Colorado’s 5th Judicial District. Tiftickjian’s efforts coincided with the Colorado State Patrol’s DUI crackdown at the end of December 2018 to combat drunk driving during the holiday season.

Honorable Mention

Fox Rothschild: Christopher P. Beall (Copyright Law; Litigation – First Amendment; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Trademark Law, 2006) was selected to serve as deputy attorney general for business and licensing in the administration of Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser. “Fox Rothschild’s Intellectual Property Department has grown significantly in recent years, and Chris has been a key contributor to that growth. Chris has long been interested in public service, and he will bring a strong skill set to this important role,” James M. Singer, chair of the firm’s nationwide intellectual property department, said in a statement to press.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie: James M. Lyons (Arbitration; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; Mediation, 1991) presented a $36,000 grant from the government of Ireland to a memorial project, which will honor Irish miners buried in Evergreen Cemetery. The grant was presented at a black-tie fundraiser held for Irish Network Colorado, which raised $20,000 in funding to supplement the government grant.

Merchant & Gould: Timothy B. Scull (Copyright Law; Information Technology Law; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Litigation – Patent; Patent Law; Trademark Law, 2009) discussed Denver’s recent growth in an article for ColoradoBiz Magazine highlighting the city’s attraction for innovators and entrepreneurs in what he likens to a “present-day Colorado gold rush.” Among the reasons for the boom are the biomedical science and alternative energy sectors, the role of new technologies, and arrival of bigger companies.

ITN Feature

Killmer, Lane & Newman: Mari Newman (Civil Rights Law; Employment Law – Individuals; Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2011) is representing Alberto Torres in a suit filed against the City of Aurora, CO. The suit alleges that Torres was beaten and arrested by officers over a noise complaint in November 2016. Newman is working on the case as a cooperating attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which filed the lawsuit on Torres’ behalf.

Officers approached Torres as he was working in his garage and ordered him out of his home before they forced him onto the
ground, injuring his face and arm.

“Mr. Torres complied with the officers’ illegal command only to be met with brute force,” Newman said in a news release. “Aurora then assigned the supervisor on the scene—who participated in the beating— to review the use of force. With the fox guarding the hen house, it is unsurprising the City of Aurora found no wrongdoing.” Police charged Torres with resisting arrest, which a jury dismissed after seeing video footage of the incident. According to the ACLU’s statement on Torres’ lawsuit, his was one of 13 incidents of racially biased policing in Aurora since 2003, eight of which took place since 2015.

“Aurora is the most racially diverse city in Colorado,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. “Its residents deserve a police force that leaves residents feeling safe and secure. But in case after case after case, the Aurora police unnecessarily escalate tension, fear, and violence when policing people of color, destroying community trust, and leaving the community less safe. It is past time for the Aurora Police Department to retrain its officers and for the city to institute truly independent civilian oversight of the police.”

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