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Human Interest

71-Year-Old Texas Man Sues United After Being Shoved to Ground by Employee: It Was ‘Completely Unacceptable Behavior,’ Says Airline

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JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty

United Airlines is, once again, in the hot seat.

Almost two months after the airline faced immense backlash for an incident in which a man was violently dragged through the aisle of a plane, new video footage has emerged of a 70-year-old man being shoved to the ground by a United Airlines employee.

The clip from 2015 shows passenger Ronald Tigner, now 71, being pushed by an airline customer service rep after an alleged argument over a boarding pass. As Tigner lies motionless on the floor, not one of the nearby United employees stop to assist him.

“He lied there,” Tigner’s attorney, William Hoke, told KPRC. “He lies there lifeless for minutes. Not one employee comes to check on him.”

Tigner, a Houston lawyer, is suing United and two of its employees for more than $1 million, alleging negligence in the incident that took place at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“No one even went to check his pulse,” Hoke told KPRC. “They literally left him there like a piece of garbage.”

United issued the following statement to PEOPLE: “We have seen the video from 2015 that shows completely unacceptable behavior by a United employee. This employee is no longer with our company. The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity. We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and reaching out to our customer to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right.”

Hoke claims the entire incident started when Tigner requested a new boarding pass after being told by TSA authorities to secure a new one. Two employees identified as Alejandro Anastasia and Ianthe Phillips-Allred allegedly refused to help him.

“Anastasia was looking at Mr. Tigner and started smiling and said, ‘Can’t you see we’re busy?’ and there’s no one in the vicinity of these two employees,” Hoke told KPRC. “And he tells Anastasia to wipe that smile off his face. That’s when Anastasia says, ‘I’ll kick your (expletives)’ and shoves Tigner to the ground.”

The clip shows Tigner laying on the ground, with his arms and legs spread wide for almost a minute.

“It was a good Samaritan, who was a nurse, that was catching a flight, ran over and said, ‘Please, God. Someone call 911,'” Hoke told KPRC.

The lawsuit against United and the two employees alleges that the confrontation caused Tigner to sustain “severe personal injuries and damages,” and incur medical expenses and lost wages, reports the Washington Post. The altercation allegedly left him with “physical disfigurement.”

“We want people to come forward who’ve been treated just like Mr. Tigner and like Dr. Dao, any of the other people who’ve flown United and been treated this way,” Hoke told KPRC. “Because this has to stop.”

The footage of Tigner can be viewed in full here on KPRC.