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Posted: April 25, 2017

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


By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

CHICAGO —

The police report from the aviation security officers who were recorded on video dragging a passenger off an United Airlines flight earlier this month has been released.

>> Read more trending news

The officers said David Dao was aggressive and said they used “minimal but necessary force to remove the subject,” WGN reported.

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

United had randomly selected Dao to leave the flight to allow employees fly to their work destination in Louisville.

Police reports said Dao told officials, “I’m not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don’t care if I get arrested,” WGN reported.

AP
This Sunday, April 9, 2017, image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger who was 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)

The report was written by Officer Maricio Rodriguez Jr., The Chicago Tribune reported.

Video of Dao’s removal caused an uproar across the country after going viral.

One of the officers said in the report that Dao was “swinging his arms up and down with a closed fist.” He added that the passenger was “flailing and fighting” when Officer James Long tried to remove him and that is what caused Dao to hit his own head on a seat divider, The Tribune reported.

>>Read: When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

Dao, according to the report, returned to the flight and the flight crew said he had been “spitting blood” in the galley.

It was later discovered that Dao had a concussion, a broken nose, a sinus injury and lost two front teeth, The Tribune reported.

A total of four officers, Rodriguez, Long, Stephen Smith and Sgt. John Moore, are suspended with pay. Long, who is seen dragging Dao down the aisle had returned from a multi-day suspension for not guarding an airport entrance, WHAS and WGN reported.

>>Read: All passengers on United Flight 3411 to receive compensation

Moore had also faced suspension during his tenure with the department for not being at work and not telling his bosses, WHAS reported.

The airline apologized multiple times after the incident came to light. It also has changed how and when passengers can be removed from a flight.

Why Passengers Get Bumped and What They Can Get For it


Related

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.

When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

News of a man being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday after not voluntarily giving up his seat is making the rounds, raising questions about what authority airlines have to remove ticketed passengers in situations of overbooking.

>> Read more trending news

According to accounts from passengers on the flight, which was leaving from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and bound for Louisville, the airline wanted the seats for employees who needed to travel to be at work the next day. Cellphone video from the aircraft shows a man who said he was a doctor being forced from his seat and dragged down the aisle of the plane as onlookers screamed, “Oh, my God!” 

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

It hasn’t been a great few months for United Airlines. In March, the airline received widespread criticism for barring two teens from their flight because they were wearing leggings.

So in what situations do the airlines have the right to force ticketed passengers from a plane? And what is the protocol for doing so?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, overbooking is legal, with most airlines overbooking their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for no-shows. When overselling occurs, the DOT requires airlines to ask people to give up their seats voluntarily in exchange for compensation. If no one volunteers, the airline may then bump passengers involuntarily, although they too are entitled to compensation.

According to United’s Contract of Carriage, “If a flight is oversold, no one may be denied boarding against his/her will until UA or other carrier personnel first ask for volunteers who will give up their reservations willingly in exchange for compensation as determined by UA. If there are not enough volunteers, other passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily in accordance with UA’s boarding priority.”

The contract states that passengers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 and minors ages 5-15 who use the unaccompanied minor service will be the last to be involuntarily denied boarding. It adds that “the priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.”

According to the DOT’s Consumer Guide to Air Travel, airlines must give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily “a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay.”

DOT statistics show that, on average, only about one of every 10,000 airline passengers is bumped involuntarily, although that number can increase over the holidays and during other busy travel seasons.

United has said little about the incident but did release this response to WHAS: “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 CEO Oscar Munoz later issued a statement on Twitter Monday, saying,  “Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'

After disturbing videos surfaced of a passenger being dragged off a plane because the flight was overbooked, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told employees that he "emphatically" stands behind them in an internal email circulated to United Airlines employees and acquired by CNBC.

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

Munoz’s public apology, also reported earlier Monday by NBC News, read:

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

But in an email circulated to employees Monday, Munoz opened with, “Like you, I was upset to see and hear what happened last night,” and wrote that "the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this passenger defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers."

Munoz wrote that the “situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we asked to deplane refused” and that employees “followed established procedures.”

>> When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

"While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right,” Munoz also wrote before including a brief summary of internal reports of the incidents. “I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation."

The United CEO added that the passenger at the center of the video, who said he was a doctor and had patients to see the following morning, was “disruptive and belligerent.” He said the airline “sought volunteers” before they followed an “involuntary denial of boarding process.”

>> Watch the news report here

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

Passengers who watched as Chicago Department of Aviation security officers boarded a United flight and dragged a man away from the plane are speaking up about what they saw.

>> Read more trending news

“None of us believed that it could get to that point of violence,” said John Klaassen, an instructor at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. “When the police came on, they were just determined to take him off of the plane. There was no negotiating.”

Passengers watched and filmed as officers pulled a man from his seat on Kentucky-bound United Airlines Flight 3411 on Sunday and dragged him up the aisle toward the plane’s door as others shouted in protest. He continued to resist and ran back onto the plane with a bloody face.

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

The Courier-Journal identified the passenger as David Dao, a doctor from Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

“He hit his face when they initially dragged him off, as you guys saw,” passenger Jayse Anspach told CNN. “It was 10 minutes later, he comes running back in and runs to the back, his face bloody, and just clings on to the post in back and just saying, ‘I got to go home, I need to go home, I need to go home.”

According to Anspach, Dao and his wife initially volunteered to deplane when United asked for volunteers, but when they found out the next flight wasn’t until the next day, Dao said he couldn’t take the later flight because of work obligations. Anspach said Dao’s initial willingness to volunteer may have been a reason Dao was ultimately selected to deplane.

In a video uploaded to Twitter by Anspach, a passenger can be heard saying, “What are you doing? This is wrong. Oh, my God, look at what you did to him.”

The incident began when United officials asked for four volunteers to give up their seats to allow four crew members to travel to work another flight in Louisville. No one volunteered, and the airline acknowledged an “involuntary de-boarding situation,” according to a United statement.

>> When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

“We have United employees that need to fly to Louisville tonight … This flight’s not leaving until four people get off,” passenger Tyler Bridges said an airline supervisor told passengers.

Bridges said Dao believed he was selected because he was Asian.

“Once they dragged the guy off, the United employees (came) on the plane (to take the seats,)” said Bridges. “The other passengers were just berating the employees, saying things like, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be embarrassed to work for this company.’”

Bridges said it was “really intense, really uncomfortable.” He also said children on the plane were very upset with the whole situation. 

>> United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'

An internal email from United CEO Oscar Munoz circulated to employees said he “emphatically” stands behind them, that the man who was removed from the flight was “disruptive and belligerent” and that United would be conducting a detailed review of what happened.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

All passengers on United Flight 3411 to receive compensation

United Airlines will offer compensation to all passengers aboard Sunday’s Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, the airline announced Wednesday. 

>> Read more trending news

“All customers on Flight 3411 from Sunday, April 9, are receiving compensation for the cost of their tickets,” the airline said in a statement. 

The airline made headlines this week after passengers filmed and voiced outrage over an incident in which David Dao, a 69-year-old physician aboard flight 3411, was dragged off the plane after refusing to deplane. United Airlines officials had selected Dao as one of four passengers who would be re-accommodated on a later flight. United had fully booked the flight but needed to provide seats for four airline employees who needed to get to Louisville for work.

>> Read more: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on overbooked flight

The announcement about compensating passengers came the same day United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized on national television for the airline’s role in the incident.

>> Read more: United Airlines CEO apologizes as stock valuation drops by $1 billion

“This will never happen again,” Munoz said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.” “We are not going to put a law enforcement official onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger; we can’t do that.”

>> Read more: United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'

Munoz, who at one point described Dao as disruptive and belligerent, has released multiple statements apologizing on behalf of the airline. 

>> Related: United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

>>Related: Twitter users respond to United Airlines fiasco, suggest mock company slogans

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated that Dao and his wife were two of four passengers selected by the airline to be removed. Additional information from a April 13 news conference revealed that his wife was not selected. 

New video shows moments before United Airlines passenger was dragged off plane

The story of Dr. David Dao and United Airlines has dominated headlines since late Sunday. Dao was forcibly removed and injured after boarding a United Airlines flight out of Chicago. Footage went viral that showed Dao arguing with officers before he was removed from the overbooked flight.

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

On Wednesday, a new video began to circulate that showed the moments leading up to Dao’s removal.

>> Watch the video here

Dao was randomly selected to de-board the aircraft when United Airlines personnel needed extra seats in order to travel for work. A Twitter user named Joya Cummings claimed to be a passenger on the flight. Cummings uploaded a video on Tuesday morning that showed what happened before Dao was removed.

>> Merriam-Webster trolls United, defines 'volunteer' after harrowing video goes viral

“I won’t go,” Dao tells officers when they tell him he needs to leave the plane.

“I’m a physician, [I] have work tomorrow.”

>> All passengers on United Flight 3411 to receive compensation

When Dao is informed that he will be dragged off the flight, he threatens to sue United Airlines.

TMZ later uploaded a compilation of videos provided by Cummings.

>> See the clips here

“You can then drag me…I’m not going.” Dao says.

“I’d rather go to jail.”

>> Read more trending news

Dao was ultimately taken off the flight and reportedly injured in the process.

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  Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on flight
  When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

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

Attorneys for a Kentucky physician who was forcibly removed from his United Airlines seat after he refused to voluntarily give it up said Thursday at a news conference in Chicago that they will likely file a lawsuit against the airline.

>> Read more trending news

Attorneys for David Dao, 69, requested an order in Cook County Circuit Court requiring that Chicago officials and United keep “all video, cockpit recordings and other reports from the flight, along with the personnel files of the Aviation Department officers who pulled Dao from the plane,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, probably,” Chicago-based personal injury lawyer Thomas Demetrio said Thursday. “As you know, we’ve taken a step ... to protect and preserve certain evidence we’re going to need down the line. It’s not just a matter of throwing the video up and asking the jury, ‘OK, who wins?’”

A hearing on the order is scheduled for Monday.

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

Dao suffered injuries, including a severe concussion, a broken nose and an unspecified injury to his sinuses, Demetrio said. He will need reconstructive surgery and lost two front teeth.

“He’s shaken,” Demetrio said, adding that the doctor was discharged from a hospital on Wednesday after spending three days recovering from his injuries. “This was not a troubled passenger. This was not a nut job.”

Demetrio said the incident, reported Sunday, was more horrifying for Dao than went he left Vietnam during the fall of Saigon and came to the United States in 1975. Demetrio categorized the confrontation as a continuation of bullying tactics used by airlines, particularly United.

“They have treated us less than maybe we deserve. I’ve concluded that based upon hundreds of tales of woe, of mistreatment, by United,” Demetrio said. “Dr. Dao … has come to understand that he’s the guy .... to stand up for passengers going forward.”

>> Related: United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

Crystal Pepper, one of Dao’s five children, thanked the public for its prayers and concerns.

“It has been a very difficult time for our entire family, especially my dad,” she said at the news conference. “What happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstances. We were horrified and shocked and sickened to learn what had happened to him and see what had happened to him.”

Passengers started filming Sunday on United Airlines Flight 3411 on Sunday after Dao refused to give up his seat, even after airline crew members called police to have him removed. Dao was traveling with his wife, also a doctor, out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Louisville, Kentucky.

Video posted on social media showed Dao being manhandled by the officers as he screamed before they dragged him, bloodied, down the plane’s center aisle.

Another video showed Dao appearing disoriented after he made his way back to the cabin. Demetrio said Dao has no memory of returning to the plane.

"Just kill me. Kill me," he repeats in the clip. "I have to go home."

The Chicago Department of Aviation officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave as city officials investigate the incident.

Demetrio said the city could face some culpability for the situation.

“Just because United is responsible doesn’t mean the city of Chicago isn’t responsible,” he said.

United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for the incident and said Tuesday that the company would no long ask police to remove passengers from full flights. He also offered full refunds, in the form of cash, miles or travel credits, to all the passengers who were on Flight 3411.

  VIDEO: Passenger Removed From United Airlines Flight
  New video shows moments before United Airlines passenger was dragged off plane
  All passengers on United Flight 3411 to receive compensation
  Merriam-Webster trolls United, defines 'volunteer' after harrowing video goes viral
  United Airlines CEO apologizes as stock valuation drops by $1 billion
  United CEO's internal email describes man dragged off flight as 'disruptive,' 'belligerent'
  Twitter users respond to United Airlines fiasco, suggest mock company slogans

Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

Delta Airlines has increased the maximum amount of compensation the airline will offer passengers when reaccommodating travelers on overbooked flights.

>> Read more trending news 

According to CNN Money, Delta supervisors are cleared to offer up to $9,950 to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats on overbooked flights. The announcement was made Friday via a Delta spokesperson. The previous maximum compensation offered was $1,350.

The amount Delta gate agents are now allowed to offer passengers who volunteer their seats on overbooked flights increased from $800 to up to $2,000, The Associated Press reported.

Delta told its staff to start compensation offerings “at a lower compensation and increase, if necessary.”

>> Related: When can an airline force a ticketed passenger off a plane?

Delta’s updated financial incentive comes days after an incident in which a United Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from a flight after refusing to give up his seat for airline employees who had nowhere to sit on a fully booked flight.

According to the AP, Delta had the lowest rate among airlines of bumping passengers off flights against their will last year.

>> Related: Delta lost $125 million, canceled 4,000 flights in domino effect after storms

Out of about 130 million total passengers last year, Delta involuntarily bumped about four passengers each day last year, CNBC reported. In contrast, United bumped more than 10 passengers per day.

In 2015 and 2016, Delta paid an average of $1,118 in compensation to passengers who were denied seats on flights, the AP reported. In comparison, United Airlines paid passengers an average of $565 each. 

>> Related: All passengers on United flight 3411 to receive compensation

“If you offer enough money, even the guy going to a funeral will sell his seat,” Ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot said, according to the AP.

Read more at The Associated Press.

  United passenger suffered broken nose, teeth while being dragged from plane
  United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight
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United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from plane

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from plane

United Airlines will no longer allow crew members to bump passengers already on board flights after facing heavy criticism for its removal of a Kentucky physician earlier this month.

>> Read more trending news

The policy change came after video surfaced on social media of officers with the Chicago Department of Aviation dragging Dr. David Dao off Flight 3411 after he declined to relinquish his seat to make room for a crew member.

Dao’s attorney said last week that the confrontation left Dao with a broken nose and a severe concussion. Two of his front teeth were knocked out and he was hospitalized for three days.

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

The change was outlined in an internal email on April 14, The Associated Press reported. Crew members are required to make “must-ride bookings” at least an hour before the flight is scheduled to leave, according to the AP. The airline previously allowed crew members to make bookings until the time of departure.

A spokesperson for United confirmed the policy update to NPR, saying it “ensures situations like Flight 3411 never happen again.” 

"This is one of our initial steps in a review of our policies in order to deliver the best customer experience," the spokesperson told NPR.

>> Related: Delta will now pay passengers up to $9,950 to give up seats

United is not the only airline that has adjusted its policies in the wake of the dragging incident.

Delta Air Lines updated its financial incentive policy to offer up to $9,950 to passengers who volunteer to give up their seats on overbooked flights. American Airlines changed its conditions of carriage and said it would not “involuntarily remove a passenger who has already boarded,” The Washington Post reported.

United Airlines wants more time to answer questions about passenger dragging

Richard Drew/AP

United Airlines wants more time to answer questions about passenger dragging

The CEO of United Airlines has asked for more time to give U.S. senators a full explanation of why a passenger was forcibly dragged off a flight, prompting national outrage.

>>Original story: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat on flight

Senators on the Commerce, Science and Transportation had given United until April 20 to respond to questions. 

“We are in the process of gathering the full set of facts about this incident and finalizing a thorough review of our policy,” United CEO Oscar Munoz wrote. “We look forward to sharing the full results of this ongoing review and the immediate, concrete actions we will take to better serve our customers with the committee.” 

>> Related: United Airlines passengers describe scene as man dragged off flight

Munoz requested an extension until April 27 to answer the senators, whose April 11 letter asked about the actions of the airline, security and the passenger, David Dao. 

The Chicago Department of Aviation also requested more time to answer questions about the incident. 

 >> Read more trending news

“We’re disappointed that neither United Airlines nor the Chicago Department of Aviation has yet provided substantive answers to the straightforward questions we asked about the forcible removal of a passenger on April 9, 2017,” senators on the committee said in a joint statement. “Getting answers for the public about what happened and what can be done to prevent such an incident from happening again is a priority for the members of our committee. We find any further delay in getting necessary answers unacceptable.”

>> Related: United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from plane

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