Chicago fires airport cops involved with violently assaulting United passenger
The Chicago Department of Aviation announced Tuesday that it has punished four employees for their involvement in the bloody assault of United Airlines passenger David Dao in April. The city fired one aviation security officer who “improperly escalated the incident,” one sergeant who “deliberately removed material facts from their reports,” and placed two other officers on suspension for their roles in the attack and attempted cover-up.
Aviation officers forcibly dragged Dao off the plane after he declined to give up his seat on a flight that was reportedly overbooked. (Dao, a doctor, told flight attendants that he had to fly home to see patients the following day.) Footage of the assault went viral, followed by attempts by authorities to smear Dao and discredit evidence that he was mistreated.
United’s CEO initially apologized for “having to re-accomodate” Dao and blamed the passenger for acting “belligerent” in an email to employees. The Chicago Police Department issued a statement claiming, “He fell,” and an aviation officer’s police report claimed that agents used “minimal but necessary force.”
Shockingly, the officers may have been slightly more responsible for Dao’s concussion, broken nose, and missing teeth than they first admitted. In a report released Tuesday, Chicago’s Office of Inspector General concluded that four employees “mishandled” the situation.
The city also changed its policy in July so that armed CPD officers, rather than unarmed CDA officers, are now the lead responders to on-flight disturbances, which couldn’t possibly go wrong.
Dao’s attorney Thomas Demetrio used the opportunity to teach Chicago officers about the importance of telling the truth.
“Do not state something that is clearly contrary to video viewed by the world,” Demetrio in a statement. “But for the video, the filed report stating that only ‘minimal’ force was used would have been unnoticed. Simply put, don’t make stuff up.”