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Posted: October 19, 2017

2 security officials fired after United Airlines passenger dragged off plane in viral video

Security Officials Fired After United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Plane

By Norman Quarrinton, Rare.us

CHICAGO —

Airport security officials who were caught on video in April forcibly removing a passenger from a United Airlines flight in Chicago have been disciplined. Two employees were fired and two suspended following the incident, which caused public outrage after the footage went viral, the Washington Post reports.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat

The fiasco became a huge public relations headache for United. In the videos, officers are seen aggressively grabbing a passenger — Dr. David Dao — who was reportedly selected at random to be removed from the overbooked flight so that his seat could be given to a United crew member.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: United passenger dragged from plane reaches settlement with airline

In a quarterly report, Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General found that a Chicago Department of Aviation security officer “improperly escalated the incident” and that a sergeant “made misleading statements” and “deliberately removed material facts” from employee reports on the April 9 incident aboard United Express Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. The first officer and the sergeant were fired, and another two officers involved in the incident were suspended — one of whom subsequently resigned, the report said.

>> Read more trending news 

The security officers “mishandled a non-threatening situation,” which led to the “violent” removal of the 69-year-old Dao, the inspector general’s report said. “The use of excessive force caused the passenger to hit his face on an armrest, resulting in a concussion, a broken nose and the loss of two teeth,” a news release accompanying the report stated.


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AP

United Airlines flight

AP

United Airlines flight

This Sunday, April 9, 2017, image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago. Video of police officers dragging the passenger from an overbooked United Airlines flight sparked an uproar Monday on social media, and a spokesman for the airline insisted that employees had no choice but to contact authorities to remove the man. (Audra D. Bridges via AP)

Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on flight

Another black eye for the airline industry after a flight crew had police remove a man who refused to voluntarily give up his seat on a flight.

United Airlines had overbooked the flight and had asked for four volunteers to give up their seats so other people could fly from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday, WHAS reported.

According to passengers, the seats were needed for airline personnel who needed to travel to be at work the next day.

The man refused, claiming he was a doctor and had to get home to see patients, The Telegraph reported.  

Flight crews called aviation police, who dragged him from his seat and down the aisle of the plane.

Additional video has come to light of the man bloodied after being removed from his seat.

Chicago police told NBC News that the man “became irate” after being chosen to give up his seat on overbooked flight and that police were called when he began raising his voice. 

Police said the man fell after they tried to carry him off of the flight. He apparently hit his face on an armrest, NBC News reported.

He was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries.

One of the officers involved in escorting the man from the flight has been reportedly placed on leave.

United Airlines gave WHAS this response to the incident:

“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.”

United Airlines has since posted a response on its Twitter page saying that they are reaching out to the passenger in question “address and resolve this situation.”

Passengers, before they boarded the flight Sunday, were offered $400 and a hotel room to willingly relinquish their seat to take a later flight scheduled for Monday, The Courier-Journal reported. When they boarded, they were told that four people would have to disembark and the offer was increased to $800. When no one volunteered, a computer randomly picked four passengers. A couple agreed to leave the flight, but the man in the video refused, , The Courier-Journal reported.  There is no word who the fourth person was or if he or she left the flight.

Last month, teens who boarded a flight wearing leggings were removed by United Airlines. Three girls were traveling on an employee pass and the airline said that it has a no-leggings policy for employees when using the pass. Two of the girls left the flight. A third, who was also wearing leggings, put a dress on over the tight-fitting pants and was allowed on the flight.

The headline of this story has been changed to reflect that the flight was not overbooked, according to United spokesman Jonathan Guerin.

United passenger dragged from plane reaches settlement with airline

A Kentucky doctor who made headlines earlier this month when he was dragged off a United Airlines flight in Chicago has settled with the airline, attorneys said Thursday in a news release.

>> Read more trending stories

Dr. David Dao suffered numerous injuries when he was dragged off a flight bound for Kentucky on April 9 after refusing to give up his seat.

The confrontation between Dao, 69, and three Chicago Department of Aviation officers was caught on video by passengers on the flight. The footage quickly spread on social media.

>> Related: United passenger suffered broken nose, teeth while being dragged from plane

Attorneys for Dao declined to share details of the settlement, citing a confidentiality provision in the agreement. Attorney Thomas Demetrio praised Oscar Munoz, CEO of United's parent company, in a statement.

"Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has," Demetrio said. "In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."

Dao was hospitalized for days after the incident on Flight 3411 with injuries that included a severe concussion, a broken nose and an unspecified injury to his sinuses. He lost two front teeth in the scuffle, Demetrio said.

"Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers," Demetrio said.

The settlement was reached on the same day United announced policy changes aimed at preventing a similar situation from happening to other passengers. Among the changes was the announcement that the airline will offer travelers as much as $10,000 to give up their seats on overbooked flights.

>> Related:United unveils 10 policy changes, will pay bumped passengers up to $10,000

Previously, the airline would offer up to $1,350, according to Bloomberg.

A number of other airlines also announced policy changes aimed at offering passengers more incentive to delay flights in cases of overbooking and to ensure that they are not taken off planes after boarding.

United's response in the immediate aftermath of the confrontation was widely criticized. Munoz first defended the airline and described Dao as "belligerent" before publicly apologizing days later and vowing to do better.

The officers who pulled Dao from the United flight were placed on leave after the incident.

>> Related: Police who dragged passenger from United flight stand by use of force

The agency released a report on Monday in which the officer who pulled Dao from his seat, James Long, gave his version of events. Long said Dao was verbally and physically abusive and was flailing his arms before he lost his balance and struck his mouth on an armrest.

The department's roughly 300 officers guard the city's two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force. They receive less training than police officers do and cannot carry guns inside the terminals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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