Pilot who was arrested for standing naked in hotel window wins $300,000 lawsuit


Saja Hindi, The Denver Post

Denver has agreed to pay a $300,000 settlement to a United Airlines pilot who was arrested for standing nude near a hotel window at Denver International Airport.

The charges were dismissed, and Capt. Andrew Collins filed a notice that he intended to sue the city. The sides settled after mediation.

“A respected family man and outstanding veteran aviator, Capt. Collins was the victim of an unjustified and warrantless entry into his hotel room followed by an arrest and days of miserable incarceration,” his attorney Craig Silverman said in a statement Monday.

Collins, a 22-year veteran of the airline, was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure after he was seen walking around naked in a Westin hotel room window on Sept. 20, 2018 at the airport. People in the airport lobby could see the naked pilot as he stood in front of a window while talking on the phone. He also was accused of lewd acts, but that charge was dropped due to lack of evidence.

Collins was suspended with pay from his job for six months until the criminal case was dismissed in March by a judge, at the recommendation of the Denver District Attorney’s Office. The pilot was also running for election to serve as the president of the pilots’ union, but he withdrew his candidacy because of the arrest.

“Beyond anything else, Andy Collins is a terrific person who has never been in trouble a day in his life and is the furthest thing from the kind of person who commits a sex-related crime,” Silverman said.

The wrongful arrest and detention of Collins, of Leesburg, Virginia, violated his constitutional rights, Silverman said in an interview. Collins had a right to privacy in his hotel room, which was serving as his home at the time.

“I wish the DIA Westin would have called me and let me know I was putting on a show in my birthday suit. I had no idea. I woke up in a strange hotel room, opened the curtains, got ready to shower, and got a phone call that lasted 24 minutes … I now realize that some unseen people in the terminal were watching me from over 100 yards away,” Collins said in a statement in March.

The settlement check lists insurer AG Aerospace Insurance Services, Inc., as the payer, which DIA spokeswoman Emily Williams confirmed was the airport’s insurance policy.

Because the payout came from the airport’s insurer, Denver City Council did not have to vote on the settlement agreement, said City Attorney’s Office spokesman Ryan Luby.

The only information he could provide was that the amount was “solidified” Friday through mediation, he wrote in an email.

Denver police spokesman Jay Casillas said the police agency also did not have any information on the settlement agreement.

The Westin Denver International Airport Hotel, which is managed by Marriott, still needs to take responsibility for its actions and protect its guests’ privacy, Silverman said.

“Numerous members of DIA Westin got involved in this violation of Capt. Collins’ constitutional rights,” Silverman said. “Beyond that, they have a hotel where customers really should be warned that people can see in their room even though you can’t see people looking at you. A lot of high-end hotels even tint their windows.”

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