Officer Fired for Dragging Man From Plane Is Suing Airline

He blames United, Chicago for incident
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2018 1:52 AM CDT
Officer Who Dragged Man From Plane Files Lawsuit
This April 9, 2017, image made from a video shows a passenger who was removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.   (Audra D. Bridges via AP)

The Chicago aviation security officer who dragged a physician off a United Airlines flight last year is suing the airline and the city, claiming that their negligence led to his firing. In the lawsuit, James Long argues that United should have known that calling security to remove David Dao, 69, from the overbooked flight would "require the use of physical force," the BBC reports. The complaint also states that although Long completed five months of training as a police recruit, the Chicago Department of Aviation failed to provide training on the "level of force continuum." With that training, Long "would not have acted in the manner he did, which resulted in his termination," states the lawsuit, which seeks damages and back pay.

Dao, who was removed to make space for a United employee on the flight to Louisville, Ky., suffered a concussion and a broken nose. The doctor, who also lost two front teeth, settled with the airline for an undisclosed sum. Long and three other aviation security officers were fired after the incident. In a separate lawsuit, some 300 aviation security officers are suing Chicago and the state of Illinois, complaining that they were stripped of their law enforcement officer status after the Dao incident, the Chicago Tribune reports. The officers—who completed police or sheriff's department training and were sworn in as law enforcement officers—argue that while the state has the right to strip the agency of its policing powers, their work history as law enforcement officers shouldn't be expunged. (More United Airlines stories.)

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