Removal of United passenger shines light on airport police

Posted April 14, 2017

The doctor's legal team asked a court to force United Airlines and the city to retain all video and flight records pertaining to the flight, including the personnel records of the Chicago Department of Aviation officers who dragged Dao off the plane.

The Aviation Department's roughly 300 officers guard the city's two main airports but are not part of the regular Chicago police force, receive less training and can not carry guns inside the terminals.

He indicated Dao will be suing United and the city of Chicago, which employs the officers who were seen on cellphone video pulling Dao out of his seat and dragging him off Sunday's Louisville-bound flight. But as Dr. Dao's encounter shows, too much discretion in the wrong hands can be disastrous.

After three passengers agreed to relinquish their seats, Dao said he was a doctor and could not give up his seat because he had appointments the following day.

Demetrio said he believes the airline's apology - issued two days after first blaming Dao for the incident - was "staged" and done because United was taking a public relations "beating".

The United Airlines video also highlighted how passengers are treated in general, regardless of the airline. It all started with a total collapse of any semblance of customer service when United flight 3411 was getting set to depart from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville International in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, officials from United Airlines and Chicago Aviation Department are being questioned.

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"What happened to my dad should never happen to any human being, under any circumstance", Dao's daughter, Crystal Pepper, said at a Thursday news conference with Demetrio. "Is that really the way we went to treat the aged disembarking that plane?"

"I hope he becomes a poster child for all of us".

Linda Bell said United apologized to her husband Wednesday and offered him compensation. United's contract of carriage says passengers may receive up to $675 if the flight arrives between one and four hours after the planned arrival time of the original flight.

"Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you have the right to do it", says Ronald Mercaldo, Lawyer at Mercaldo Law Firm in Tucson, Arizona.

Demetrio said the law stated that passengers could not be ejected from planes with unreasonable force.

Later on Thursday afternoon, United officials reiterated their pledge to fully investigate their procedures to ensure this situation doesn't happen again.

The security officers returned, but refused to restrain Dao because he was injured and bleeding, Fuller said. United has refunded the tickets of all the passengers as it tries to wipe the copious amount of egg from its face. Chicago Alderman Michael Zalewski, head of the committee, called the incident a nightmare that should have been avoidable.