In early April, Dr. Dao was dragged off a United flight from Chicago to Louisville after refusing to give up his seat on an oversold flight after he was already seated. Since he refused to get up, the “police” was called, and they dragged him off the plane, causing him to sustain serious injuries.
This quickly became one of the biggest news stories in the country, as it struck a nerve with so many people, and summed up the abuse of power that we’ve seen in the airline industry for so long.
Due to the public outrage, within a few weeks United revealed policy changes they were making as a result of the incident, and also reached a settlement with Dr. Dao. The settlement precluded Dr. Dao from suing the airport, and specifically, the officers who dragged him off the plane. I suspect United’s motive for adding that clause is that they wanted the public attention of this case to die as quickly as possible, and they knew it would drag on if there were another case with the airport authority.
We later learned that the people who dragged Dr. Dao off the plane weren’t actually police officers, even though their uniforms clearly said “police” on them. Instead they were security officers, and apparently their uniforms were “improperly marked.”
It has been months since the last public development in this case, though it looks like there’s yet another update. It’s being reported that two security officers have been fired and one (who had been suspended) has resigned, for their handling of the Dr. Dao incident.
This is all according to a quarterly report by Inspector General Joe Ferguson, who outlines what caused them to get fired. According to the Chicago Sun Times:
The first officer was accused of violating the Department of Aviation’s use of force policy when he “escalated a non-threatening situation into a physically violent one by forcefully removing a passenger from the aircraft.”
“The ASO’s 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 making “material omissions in a report regarding the first” officer’s forceful removal of Dao.
“The investigation further established that the sergeant deliberately removed material facts from the third” officer’s `To/From Report’ and approved reports without all essential information,” the inspector general said.
Good! Not surprisingly, the report also highlights the confusion there was regarding the role of the unarmed security officers in the incident.
I’m happy to see how how seriously this incident has been taken, it’s just a shame that it took something like this for policies to change.
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)