Chicago aviation officials fired two security officers involved in dragging a 69-year-old passenger off a United Airlines flight after he refused to give up his seat, the city’s inspector general said Tuesday.
David Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and the loss of two teeth in the April incident at Chicago’s O’Hare airport when he was forcibly removed from a flight bound for Louisville. The airline needed several seats on the full plane to get crew members in position for their next flights.
Three security officers and a sergeant with Chicago's Department of Aviation “mishandled a non-threatening situation that resulted in a physically violent and forceful removal of a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 3411," the city’s Office of Inspector General found in a report Tuesday.
The officers made misleading statements and deliberately removed facts from their reports about the incident, the report said. Based on those findings, the aviation department fired one of the officers and the sergeant for escalating the incident.
The department suspended two other officers — one for five days and one for two days — for the deliberate removal of facts from a report. The officer with the five-day suspension then resigned, according to the Associated Press.
The aviation department is reviewing its policies and procedures and is expected to file a report early next year.
United and the city repeatedly apologized to Dao, and the airline reached an undisclosed settlement with him.
Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, told AP that dismissing the officer was unexpected, but could resonate with others. He said the department’s review of its policies should have been done the day after the incident.
“In firing him, perhaps it will send a clear message to police and airline personnel all over the world that unnecessary violence is not the way to handle passenger matters,” Demetrio said.
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