New Video, Audio Recordings Show United Incident As It Unfolded

As the saga surrounding United Express Flight 3411 continues to unfold, new video and audio recordings have been released by authorities showing what happened in the moments before and after a passenger was dragged off the aircraft in Chicago earlier this month.

Multiple videos show varying scenes, including the moment Dr. David Dao boarded the plane and the moment officers arrived at the scene after being summoned by United employees when Dao wouldn't give up his seat.

Dao, a physician, was bloodied and dragged off the United Express plane by Chicago airport officers in now-viral video that has made national headlines. The three officers involved have been suspended.

According to the recordings, operators moved cameras on O'Hare Airport's control tower to get a better look at what was happening as aviation officers arrived at Gate C-3. 

"Disturbance, Charlie 3, on the aircraft. It was overbooked. Now two passengers are refusing to get off the aircraft," authorities are heard saying.

The video and audio were released alongside a series of documents from Chicago police and the Chicago Department of Aviation Monday, weeks after the Kentucky doctor was dragged off the plane. 

In an incident report released by the Chicago Department of Aviation, one officer claimed Dao told them "I'm not leaving this flight that I paid money for. I don't care if I get arrested."

Another officer wrote that Dao was removed with "minimal but neccesary [sic] force." 

After the officers dragged Dao through the aisle, he allegedly ran back onto the aircraft and into the galley of the plane but he hung onto a pole and said, "I'm not getting off the plane. Just kill me. I want to go home," according to the report. 

Dao's lawyer revealed in an interview with "Today" Monday morning that he plans to file a lawsuit in the case. Attorney Thomas Demetrio said the 69-year-old suffered a "significant concussion," a broken nose and lost two front teeth. 

“There’s other video that does show that he’s calmly in his seat," Demetrio told "Today." "His ticket was accepted, scanned, he boarded, he was seat belted and all the video shows him quietly saying, 'I want to go home. I’m not getting off.' And interestingly, you can’t do that. After someone is in their seat that’s not the time to say, 'We’re overbooked or we need to get an employee from point A to point B.'”

According to a memo released by the CDA Monday, aviation security officers were instructed to "thoroughly review the policy and procedures" for use of force. 

"As indicated in the directive, 'the safety of innocent persons and officers is of paramount importance,' and employees are expected to have a thorough understanding and knowledge of the 'Use of Force' policy and procedures when interacting with passengers, employees, vendors and other stakeholders at the airport," the memo read. 

The CEO of United Airlines said last week no one will be fired over the incident — including himself.

CEO Oscar Munoz said Tuesday that he takes full responsibility "for making this right," and he promised more details later this month after United finishes a review of its policies on overbooked flights.

United has been pummeled on social media — #BoycottUnited is a popular hashtag — and late-night television.

Munoz and other executives have vowed to treat customers with dignity, and said that what happened to Dao will never happen again.

Munoz's early statements on the incident were widely criticized. He initially supported employees and blamed Dao, calling him "disruptive and belligerent." On Tuesday, he was asked if the company ever considered firing anyone, including management.

"I'm sure there was lots of conjecture about me personally," said Munoz. He noted that the board of United Continental Holdings Inc. has supported him.

"It was a system failure across various areas," Munoz continued. "There was never a consideration for firing an employee."

United announced two rule changes last week, including saying that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked planes. It is not clear whether United oversold Flight 3411, but the flight became overbooked when four Republic Airline employees showed up after passengers had boarded and demanded seats so they could commute to their next assignment, a United Express flight the next morning.

Some politicians and consumer advocates have called for a ban on overselling flights. Munoz declined to address that or other possible changes until the airline finishes a review by April 30.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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