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Finance: An officer who dragged a United passenger off a flight last year is suing the airline (UAL)
PublishedBy: in Business Insider/FinanceApril 11, 2018

United Airlines Boeing 777

One of the officers who dragged a man off a United Airlines flight last April is suing the airline.

  • A former aviation police officer who dragged a United Airlines passenger off an oversold flight in April 2017 is suing the airline and the Chicago Department of Aviation, ABC 7 reports.
  • In the lawsuit, the former officer, James Long, claims he wasn't properly trained to handle passengers who misbehaved.
  • Long also claims he was fired on unfair terms and subject to slander after videos of him and other officers dragging David Dao off a United flight went viral.

A former aviation police officer who dragged a United Airlines passenger off an oversold flight in April 2017 is suing the airline and his former employer, the Chicago Department of Aviation, ABC 7 reports.

In the lawsuit, the former officer, James Long, claims he wasn't properly trained to handle passengers who misbehaved. He also claims that United knew or should have known that calling the Aviation police to "remove a passenger who was refusing to leave their plane would require the use of physical force."

In addition, Long claims he was fired on unfair terms and subject to slander after videos of him and other officers dragging David Dao off a United flight went viral.

Before the incident, Chicago aviation police officers were making an effort to be able to carry guns while working. Ginger Evans, Chicago's aviation department commissioner, later said in a tweet that aviation officers were not armed "for good reasons."

The lawsuit claims Long suffered "mental anguish" after his termination, as well.

"We have not been served with this suit and are unable to comment," a United spokesperson told Business Insider.

United was widely criticized for how it handled the incident.

United CEO Oscar Munoz was criticized for his initial response to the incident, in which he called Dao "disruptive and belligerent." Munoz later issued a second apology in which he expressed regret at how the incident unfolded.

"I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way," he said.

Dao lost two front teeth, broke his nose, and suffered a concussion as a result of the incident. His family threatened to sue the airline, but the two parties settled before a case went to court.

Since then, United has been unable to avoid controversy, much of which has focused on the airline's treatment of pets. The airline has had multiple animals die on or shortly after flights or be sent to incorrect destinations. In March, United Airlines said it would temporarily stop transporting pets in the cargo holds of its aircraft as it reviewed its pet transport program following three dog-related incidents in one week.

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