Raverro Stinnett, a Denver-area artist who was severely beaten by security guards contracted by the Regional Transportation District in the bus depot near Union Station in 2018, has reached a tentative settlement agreement with the guards’ employer, Allied Universal.
Jeremy Lee, regional vice president for the private security giant, confirmed the agreement in comments to Denver City Council on Monday. He also said the beating was a “reprehensible act” that “does not represent the values of our organization both from a nationwide standpoint and certainly locally.” The guard who beat Stinnett has since received a prison sentence.
Stinnett was waiting for a train in April 2018 when a security guard told him to go into a bathroom, followed him in, and then beat him unconscious. Stinnett was a rising star in Colorado’s Black art scene but has since stopped working.
“It seems like every time I try to paint, I just bust out in tears. Or if I’m even making the sketch for the painting, it’s just tears. It’s all tears,” he told CPR’s Colorado Matters in July.
A joint statement from Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, which represented Stinnett, and Allied said the agreement, “is subject to finalization and formal documentation, but both parties were able to work cooperatively to address this unfortunate incident.”
Stinnett filed a lawsuit against Allied and RTD in April 2020, demanding an unspecified amount of damages and attorneys’ fees. RTD later argued it should not be held liable for the actions of its contractor.
It’s not clear if the settlement clears RTD of liability; Stinnett’s lawyers have not yet responded to follow-up questions, and RTD spokeswoman Pauletta Tonilas declined to comment beyond a statement that says, “We are pleased that RTD, Allied, and Mr. Stinnett have been able to work cooperatively toward a resolution between Allied and Mr. Stinnett and look forward to the parties finalizing the agreement in the near future.”
The incident has had an impact on Allied’s relationship with local governments. The Denver City Council voted down a $25 million contract with Allied on Monday. But the RTD board in August rejected board member Shontel Lewis’ proposal to sever its ties with Allied and replace its guards with outreach workers.
Since the beating, RTD has tightened its oversight of Allied guards and employed non-armed “safety ambassadors” on its new N Line, and a board-convened ad hoc committee will examine the agency’s safety and security practices and could lead to significant changes.
The group will “really be taking a deep-dive look into the whole system,” RTD board chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede said at a meeting last week. The committee’s first meeting is set for Wednesday and will wrap up its work by December.