Denver artist Raverro Stinnett was at Union Station after attending a LoDo art opening, waiting for a train home early on the morning of April 20, 2018, when he was confronted by four security officers who threatened him and challenged him to a fight. Two of the guards, employed by contractor Allied Universal Security Services, led him to a bathroom and brutally assaulted him while another kept watch; all three later pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Stinnett was left with permanent brain injuries that, according to a lawsuit filed last week, “have completely upended his life.”
“Mr. Stinnett suffers from permanent cognitive impairments that make it largely impossible for him to produce original art — let alone art of the same quality as he once did,” the lawsuit says. “He has difficulty engaging in basic everyday activities and maintaining ordinary relationships. Severely depressed and frustrated by his reduced capabilities, Mr. Stinnett has become a shut-in who rarely interacts with others.”
Stinnett’s civil suit against the guards, Allied and the Regional Transportation District, which owns Union Station, came as RTD’s board of directors approved changes to its “code of conduct,” which include stricter rules on behavior at bus and train stations. And the 2018 incident is a reminder, say critics of the new rules, of the abuse and discrimination that may result when private security contractors enforce them.