The City of Denver has agreed to pay $300,000 to a pilot who was arrested after standing naked in front of a hotel room window at Denver International Airport. United Airlines pilot Andrew Collins said he had no idea anyone could see him when he opened the curtains in his 10th floor room. He sued for wrongful arrest.
Collins said on the morning of Sept. 20, 2018, he woke up in his room at the airport hotel and opened the curtains to enjoy the view. He was walking around his room while on a business call about his ongoing campaign to become the elected leader of the nation's largest pilot union. A witness who called police said the naked man was acting inappropriately.
"That didn't mean I was standing there doing any lewd behavior," Collins told CBS4. "I just had an expectation of privacy."
Collins explained that in his 26 years as a commercial pilot he has stayed at more than 2,000 hotels. Most, he added, have tinted or mirrored windows so he assumed the Westin at DIA did as well.
Collins' attorney, Craig Silverman, said the two responding Denver police officers went too far when they arrested the captain for indecent exposure. Silverman said police did not have a warrant to go into the hotel room.
"A respected family man and outstanding veteran aviator, Captain Collins was the victim of an unjustified and warrantless entry into his hotel room followed by an arrest and days of miserable incarceration," Silverman stated. "The criminal case against Captain Collins was properly dismissed, but not before Captain Collins was suspended for half a year from his job as a direct result of the wrongful charges against him."
Collins said the case impacted his whole family.
"My family has had to deal with things they had nothing to do with," Collins told CBS4 back in March. "I have three boys who serve in the United States Air Force. They've had to listen to the jokes of their superiors about their father doing things in front of windows. My wife was a 30-year flight attendant for United Airlines and she has to go to work to listen to these same comments."
Silverman said that while the city has paid for violating his client's constitutional rights, the hotel has not.
"The DIA Westin needs to make changes to warn hotel guests that the interiors of its hotel rooms do not afford privacy but are in fact visible to unseen people far away in the Denver International Airport terminal," Silverman stated. "The DIA Westin should take responsibility for its own behavior on September 20, 2018 and take appropriate steps to make sure that what happened to Captain Collins never happens to another customer."
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