The City of Denver has been forced to pay a United Airlines pilot $300,000 after he was wrongly accused of indecent exposure when he stood naked in front of his 10th-floor hotel room.
Captain Andrew Collins was arrested in September last year when a witness called police after spotting him at the window of the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport.
The 22-year veteran of the airline, who was suspended from his role for six months, admitted to standing in the window but denied he was purposely parading himself.
And he has now been handed the huge payout following a settlement in his wrongful arrest case with the city of Denver after he pleaded not guilty and a judge dismissed the charges, Denver ABC reports.
Married dad-of-three Collins, from Leesburg, Virginia, had said he was not aware he had been visible to anyone in the terminal when he stood at the window.
Footage showed the moment a topless Collins was detained by police.
Captain Andrew Collins, pictured left and with his wife, flight attendant Jill Babich, was arrested in September 2018 at the Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport
Footage showed the moment a topless Collins was detained by police. The 22-year veteran of the airline, who was suspended from his role for six months, admitted to standing in the window but denied he was purposely parading himself
Video, provided by two officers’ body cams, had been edited down for time but showed a shirtless Collins getting detained. At one point an officer has to help Collins put on a shirt.
A witness is said to have informed police that he saw the pilot ‘touching himself’ and waving at him but Collins asserted that that wasn’t the case.’
He told The Denver Post shortly after his arrest: ‘I was getting ready for a shower and was talking on the phone. It was a beautiful morning, and I opened the curtains to my window. I couldn’t see the terminal.
‘We’re not disputing the fact that I was standing nude in front of the hotel window.
‘Some witnesses said I was dancing, gyrating and waving. I’m completely innocent. It’s really unfortunate that it happened at all.’
The pilot claimed to have been on the phone for roughly 24 minutes when police began pounding on his door and had their guns drawn when he opened. Collins was handcuffed and taken to the airport jail.
Married dad-of-three Collins, from Leesburg, Virginia, had said he was not aware he had been visible to anyone in the terminal when he stood at the window of the hotel, pictured
The video, provided by two officers’ body cams, had been edited down for time but showed a shirtless Collins getting detained. At one point an officer has to help Collins put on a shirt
His attorney, Craig Silverman said it was not a crime for Collins to be naked in Denver in his hotel room. He argues his client did not know people could see him.
In a statement he said: ‘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.
‘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, who is back flying, said the fallout from the incident is something he has to ‘explain every day without fail’. He is pictured with wife Jill
Silverman had said in November last year: ‘From this hotel room, you cannot see people going about their business inside the concourse. The concourse windows are tinted green and are opaque and reflective. It’s like looking at a green wall or a green mirror.
‘From inside the concourse, at that time of the morning, unbeknownst to my client, you can see into the Westin rooms, but the distance is such that you cannot see much other than a human form.
‘My client had a reasonable expectation that no one could see into his window. He was unaware of any people looking at him as he focused on his important phone call while walking around his room.
‘There is zero evidence of any sexual activity demonstrating an intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of any person.’
Silverman added: ‘The DIA Westin, managed by Marriot, they performed poorly, we’d like them to step up and acknowledge responsibility.’
A police report had said: ‘The suspect did open the window to his hotel room, which overlooks the hotel plaza, and in full view of the public did stand in his window fully nude, exposing himself and his genitalia to the general public.’
Collins, who is back flying, said the fallout from the incident is something he has to ‘explain every day without fail’. He told Fox 31 Monday: ‘That’s how we protect our rights – by holding people accountable.’
He added: ‘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.’
Collins said he will be donating some of his settlement to Innocence Project.
Facebook had indicated he is married to a flight attendant named Jill Babich.