Aviation

Airline pilot paid more than $400,000 after wrongful arrest for being naked in hotel room

An American state government will pay a United Airlines pilot US$300,000 ($442,000) as settlement for his wrongful arrest.

In September 2018, Andrew Collins was arrested for reportedly standing naked in his 10th floor room at the Westin hotel at Denver International Airport. His room allegedly overlooked the airport terminal.

According to a police report, cited by Fox31 Denver, airport employees saw Collins “touching himself” when he was in his hotel room.

Collins pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanour charge.

Craig Silverman, Collins’ attorney, reportedly argued it is not a crime to be naked in Denver in a hotel room and that Collins had no idea people could see him when he partially opened the curtains, according to the outlet.

In March, a judge reportedly dismissed the charges against Collins, who was suspended for six months by United because of the incident. Collins has been awarded a settlement of US$300,000 (approximately $442,000).

“That’s how we protect our rights – by holding people accountable,” Collins told Fox31 Denver.

Collins added, speaking to the outlet, that he still deals with the consequences of the arrest – even though he is back flying and the charges were dismissed.

“I have to explain this situation every day without fail,” Collins said. “I have been tagged by Homeland Security, anytime I get back into the country I am pulled aside and asked if I have been in trouble with the law.”

Silverman added that there was the possibility of a further lawsuit against Marriott International and Westin for allowing officers inside the hotel without a warrant, according to Fox31Denver.

“The DIA Westin, managed by Marriott, they performed poorly we’d like them to step up and acknowledge responsibility,” Silverman said.

Collins reportedly plans on donating some of the settlement money to the Innocence Project, having “known now what it is like to be falsely accused”.

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