Two years ago police stormed the Westin Denver airport room of a United Airlines pilot, arresting him for “dancing, gyrating and waiving” naked in front of the TSA screening checkpoint below the window of his room.
Police entered with guns drawn. He was naked. He said he had taken a phone call just as he was about to get into the shower. See,
- You cannot see out the hotel room window at the people below
- But they can see into the room
The pilot served a six month suspension from his job at United and became a national news story. The city, which owns the hotel and clearly designed it poorly, paid him a $300,000 settlement. However he also went after the Westin Denver Airport’s operator, and there he lost
Westin Denver International Airport, Credit: Marriott
A federal judge in Colorado dismissed a lawsuit filed by a commercial airline pilot…alleging the hotel should have warned him the windows were see-through and trained its employees to protect guests’ Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search, seizure and arrest.
“It is well-established that the Fourth Amendment protects hotel guests from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, plaintiff [Collins] provides no legal support for his contention that a hotel has a duty to protect its guests’ Fourth Amendment rights, or that defendant’s lack of training to protect hotel guests’ Fourth Amendment rights is a ‘danger,’” U.S. District Judge William Martinez wrote in his 14-page order.
…Martinez sided with the hotel in finding that Collins failed to show that Westin “was aware, or should have been aware, that aspects of its windows could potentially lead an unsuspecting guest to erroneously conclude that the windows were opaque and expose himself.”
The city paid up. They designed the hotel. Law enforcement should pay up, too, there’s absolutely no reason to have stormed the pilot’s hotel room with guns drawn just because his ‘ammunition’ was pointed at the TSA.
I suppose the hotel’s management is on notice now that this is an issue, and may have a duty to warn future guests that something like this might happen to “don’t stand naked in from of the window.” Perhaps they should put stickers on the window, the way the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka has stickers warning people that cameras might be taken for guns, to watch out or they might be taken out by a sniper, dating to the government’s conflict there with the Tamil Tigers.
It’s rather shocking that this issue at the property still hasn’t been addressed though. There may be people hanging it all out for the security checkpoint to see on a daily basis.
[…] Things could have been much worse of course. Being exposed in all one’s honeymoon nakedry is one thing. A United pilot, seen through a one-way window that only looked in from the TSA checkpoint below at the Westin Denver Airport, wound up with police barging into his room with guns drawn. […]