Chicago, IL – Two Chicago airline security officers were fired and a third officer resigned for their roles in dragging a doctor off an overbooked United Airlines flight for refusing to give up his seat.
The April 9 incident was captured on video and made national headlines.
Louisville doctor David Dao listed injuries include a broken nose, lost teeth, and a concussion.
In addition to the fired officers, two other officers who were involved in dragging the doctor off the plane were suspended for five days, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The Department of Aviation claims that the first officer violated their use of force policy. The newspaper stated that officer “escalated a non-threatening situation into a physically violent one by forcefully removing a passenger from the aircraft.”
Inspector General Joe Ferguson released a report Tuesday that spelled out the rationale for the firings.
“The ASO’s [Aviation Security Officer] use of excessive force caused the passenger to hit his face on an armrest, resulting in the passenger sustaining a concussion, a broken nose and the loss of teeth,” Ferguson wrote.
The second officer was accused of making misleading statements in two reports. The third officer was accused of leaving out important facts in a report regarding Dao’s removal from the airplane.
Ferguson also the investigation also identified that there is “significant confusion” about the role that unarmed aviation security officers play in the overall security of O’Hare and Midway Airports.
Chicago’s Aviation police officers are certified law enforcement officers, but they aren’t allowed to carry guns.
These unarmed officers make up the only airport police department in the nation which isn’t allowed to carry guns.
You may wonder what these police officers are supposed to do in the event of a terror attack. According to their training, the answer is that they should run and hide.
Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans said earlier this year that the aviation security officers would have their role minimized, while having their training overhauled and the word “police” was stripped from their badges, uniforms and vehicles.
The Service Employees International Union Local 73 represents the 292 airline officers.
The union accused Commissioner Evans of “scapegoating” the officers and blaming them for what the union said was “her own failed policies and mismanagement.”
The video of the incident was first posted around 7:30 PM April 10, and shows Dao being dragged off of a United Airlines flight when it was overbooked.
“Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked,” a United Airlines spokesman said, according to King 5. “After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.”
The airline offered $400 and a hotel stay for passengers willing to take a 3 PM flight the next day. When there were no takers, they upped the offer to $800. Everybody refused the offer.
A manager then boarded the plane and said that a computer would randomly select people who had to leave the plane. One couple was selected, and they left the plane. Then Dao was selected, and he refused to leave.
The man became very agitated and stated that he was a doctor and he had patients to see. He added that he was calling his lawyer.
One officer came and spoke with the man, who still refused to leave. Then another spoke with him, and again, he refused to leave.
Then a third officer spoke with Dao, and still, he would not leave.
The officers grabbed Dao to try to remove him from the plane..
As officers tried to pull the man out of the seat, he resisted their efforts. As officers struggled to pull Dao out, he hit his lip on an armrest.
Dao was then dragged off of the plane, but he wasn’t done yet.
After the had had been dragged off of the plane, he ran from officers, got back onto the plane, and ran to the rear of the airplane.
The airline then had other passengers leave while medical personnel and law enforcement dealt with him.
Dao eventually settled with United Airlines for an undisclosed amount.
You can see video of the incident below: