Two officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation have been fired for their involvement in the April dragging of United flight passenger David Dao, who had resisted giving up his seat for traveling staff on the flight.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago’s Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the incident, which had left Dao with a concussion, a broken nose, and two missing teeth. The office found that three aviation officers and one security sergeant “mishandled” the situation, and found employees had made misleading statements to purposely remove “material facts” from reports.
As a result, two officers were fired—the officer found responsible for escalating the incident, and the security sergeant involved in scrubbing an employee report. The two other officers were suspended.
The Aviation Department is also subsequently reviewing its policies in reaction to the investigation’s recommendations. In July, it decided the Chicago Police Department would respond to airport disturbance calls over security officers. The city also had the word “police” removed from security officer uniforms and vehicles.
Across publications and social media, videos and images of the abuse Dao endured caused outrage and demands for justice, sparking several other stories of airline mishandlings and abuse. United settled a lawsuit with Dao as a result, and made changes in its flight policies to reduce overbooking, better incentivize volunteer bumping, and end the mandatory bumping of boarded customers for traveling crew members.
Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s lawyer, warned other aviation security officers to take the Chicago department’s case as a lesson.
“Do not state something that is clearly contrary to video viewed by the world,” Demetrio said. “Passengers should always maintain the right to videotape mistreatment of all kinds. Our cellphones are the best deterrent to ensure mistreatment becomes a rarity.”