03/29/2011 08:44 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2011

ACLU Of Colorado Sues Denver Police For Alleged Racial Profiling In 2010 Arrest (UPDATE)

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging racial profiling and unlawful search and entry in the July, 2010 arrest of a Denver Man.


The city of Denver has agreed to a settlement in the case of detaining Denver Jose Sanchez and his girlfriend, Joshinna Carreras, illegally. The settlement provides for new police policies, new training for officers, and payment of $20,000 to the ACLU's clients to help ensure the incident doesn't occur again.

The ACLU of Colorado lawsuit filed on behalf of Sanchez and Carreras charged that Denver officers had targeted Sanchez, falsely accusing him of being an illegal immigrant, illegally entering and searching his home, and then illegally arresting him for providing false identification that was in fact valid.

Sanchez had presented police with his Employment Authorization Card issued by the Department of Homeland Security that gave him the right to be in the country legally and seek work.

"Denver authorized its police officers to enforce an ordinance that prohibits offering false identification," ACLU of Colorado's Legal Director Mark Silverstein said. "But Denver had not trained its officers to recognize a valid government photo ID like the one issued to Mr. Sanchez."

Under the new policies, Denver Police will have to contact federal authorities to check whether the ID is genuine before booking someone on charges of false identification and handing the case to prosecutors. Police training will also include education about "unconscious bias," the Fourth Amendment -- a person's right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure -- and proper interaction with English language learners.


In a release Tuesday, the ACLU accused Denver Police of detaining Jose Sanchez of Denver without reasonable cause and accused him of being an illegal immigrant. The suit also alleges that police illegally searched Sanchez's home.

Sanchez was jailed for five days, causing him to lose his job.

"Denver police need to base their policing on evidence, not biased stereotypes and they need to respect the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures," the ACLU said in Tuesday's release.

Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told the AP that an internal investigation into the incident was dropped after Sanchez refused to cooperate .