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United Airlines pilot awarded $300K after wrongful bust for indecent exposure

Stephanie Pagones

The city of Denver must hand over $300,000 to a United Airlines pilot wrongfully arrested for standing naked in front of his hotel room window, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The claim dated to Sept. 20, 2018, when Denver International Airport employees notified police that Andrew Collins of Leesburg, Virginia, could be seen unclothed and fondling himself in front of his 10th-floor window at the Westin at Denver International Airport, according to a press release and a report by FOX 31 in Denver. Collins was arrested and charged with indecent exposure, according to an earlier report by the outlet.

He pleaded not guilty, with his attorney, Craig Silverman, arguing that being naked in a hotel room is not a crime and that Collins wasn't aware anyone could see inside.

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A judge later dropped the charges.

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"That's how we protect our rights -- by holding people accountable," Collins told the outlet. He had sought $1 million in his wrongful arrest suit.

United Airlines suspended Collins for six months, according to the report. Though he’s resumed his role with the airline, Collins said he’s reminded of the incident daily.

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"I have to explain this situation every day without fail," he 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.”

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Spokespersons for the hotel chain and United Airlines didn't immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

Silverman also told the outlet that the hotel, which is owned by Marriott, permitted officers to come inside without a warrant and intimated a lawsuit could be filed in the future.

"No further customers of the DIA Westin should be subject to such humiliation and clear violations of hotel patrons’ constitutional rights," Silverman said in the release. "A hotel room is the equivalent of a person’s home, and warrantless entries are presumptively unconstitutional. Customers’ constitutional rights must be protected."

This report was updated to include details from a press release provided by Collins' attorney Craig Silverman. 

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