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United Airlines pilot files lawsuit against DIA Westin hotel 5 months after settling wrongful arrest

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Posted at 3:55 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 23:21:28-04

DENVER – A United Airlines pilot in a wrongful arrest case stemming from a now-dismissed indecent exposure charge in September of 2018 has filed a lawsuit against The Westin Denver International Airport.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court Monday, according to his attorney, Craig Silverman, who said in a news release they are hopeful “that the operators of the DIA Westin will acknowledge and remedy the fact this violation occurred with the unfortunate participation and permission of DIA Westin staff.”

Captain Andrew Collins, a pilot from Leesburg, Virginia, was arrested in September 2018 after being accused of standing naked in front of his 10th-floor hotel window overlooking the Denver International Airport terminal.

In an interview with our partners at The Denver Post, Collins said he didn’t know that he was visible to anyone in the main terminal.

A judge dismissed criminal charges against Collins in March of 2019, but by that time, the wrongful arrest had already led to a six-month suspension for the pilot.

His attorney said the incident “cruelly violated the constitutional rights of an innocent Denver visitor” and added the operators and managers of The Westin Denver International Airport “have not yet acknowledged its misconduct in this matter.”

When Collins settled with the city of Denver for $300,000, the pilot said through his attorney that he wanted hotel operators to alter the way they operated, and stated at the time that constitutional rights to privacy in a hotel room need to be respected.

“Captain Collins wants to make sure no future hotel patrons are subjected to the kind of gross abuse he suffered,” his attorney said in Monday’s news release. “A hotel room is the equivalent of a person’s home, and warrantless entries are presumptively unconstitutional. Customers’ constitutional rights must be protected.”

Silverman also said the hotel at DIA needs to make changes alerting guests staying at the hotel that the rooms “do not afford privacy but are in fact visible to unseen people far away in the Denver International Airport terminal.”

He said hotel operators need to take responsibility for what happened and make sure that what happened to the United Airlines pilot never happens to any other customer at The Westin Denver International Airport.

Denver7 reached out to officials at The Westin Denver International Airport but did not immediately hear back.