On April 9, United Airlines overbooked one of its flights from Chicago to Louisiana. Normally, when this happens, the airline asks for volunteers, offering those who choose to give up their seat a lump sum of money in return.
However, when none of the passengers scheduled to be on that plane offered to give up their seat, the airline’s computers selected passengers at random. Dr. David Dao was one of the people forced to give up his seat.
As a result, Dao refused.
Following his refusal to walk off the plane under his own will, he was forcefully ripped from his seat and dragged off the plane by two security personnel:
— Jayse D. Anspach (@JayseDavid) April 10, 2017
The assault left Dao with two teeth lost, a broken nose, and a concussion. He later sued the airline for the way the officers treated him and settled for an undisclosed about of money.
What was unknown, until now, was the fate of the two officers who pulled Dao off the plane.
According to LawNewz, following an investigation led by Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, Ferguson discovered that not only were the officers in the wrong, but they attempted to cover each other by lying about what really happened on the plane that April day:
Ferguson found that one officer, “made misleading statements in two reports,” and the other, “made material omissions in a report.”
The inspector also determined that the force used by the two officers was “excessive” and that the officers “escalated a non-threatening situation into a physically violent one.”
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) October 18, 2017
They were inevitably fired from their positions:
As of this week, an Aviation Officer and Security sergeant were fired, a third officer resigned, and another received a five-day suspension.
Dao’s lawyer released a statement following the conclusion of the investigation:
It is unfortunate the conduct of these two City aviation employees has resulted in their losing their jobs. However, this is not a day of celebration for Dr. Dao, who is neither vindictive nor happy about Mr. Ferguson’s findings. There is a lesson to be learned here for police officers at all levels. Do not state something that is clearly contrary to video viewed by the world.
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. Also, the Inspector General’s report should become the poster child for why passengers should always maintain the right to videotape mistreatment of all kinds. Our cell phones are the best deterrent to ensure mistreatment becomes a rarity.
Neither of the four involved in the traumatic incident has been named.