Two Chicago Aviation Officers Fired For Role In Dragging United Passenger From Flight

Image courtesy of Audra Bridges

More than six months after a ticketed United Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from a flight by Chicago law enforcement personnel, two of the four Chicago Department of Aviation Security officers involved have been fired.

According to a new report [PDF] from Chicago’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, an Aviation Security officer and a sergeant were fired. A third officer resigned, and the fourth received a two-day suspension.

The OIG’s investigation found that the officers “mishandled a non-threatening situation that resulted in a physically violent and forceful removal” of Dr. David Dao from the United flight headed to Louisville on April 9.

The report details Dao’s injuries due to the “use of excessive force,” including a concussion, a broken nose, and the loss of two teeth.

READ MORE: United Airlines Won’t Be Fined Over Passenger-Dragging Incident

According to the investigation, the unnamed employees made “misleading statements and deliberately removed material facts from their reports.”

Based on the OIG’s findings and recommendations, the Chicago Department of Aviation fired the officer who “improperly escalated the incident” as well as the sergeant involved in the deliberate removal of facts from an employee report.

The department also said a review of its policies and procedures was underway, with the goal to have it complete by 2018.

READ MORE: United Airlines Reaches Confidential Settlement With Forcibly Removed Passenger

Dao’s attorney Thomas Demetrio said in a statement that it’s “unfortunate” that the conduct of the two aviation officers 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,” he adds.

Instead, he says there’s a lesson to be learned for law enforcement at all levels.

“Do not state something that is clearly contrary to video viewed by the world,” Demetrio said. “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.”