Dr. David Dao, whose forcible removal from an overbooked United Airlines flight unleashed a PR maelstrom for the carrier, was “aggressive” and “flailing his arms” as he fought with officers. That’s according to incident reports filed by the Chicago aviation officers who dragged him from the plane.
The reports, released on Monday in response to Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Los Angeles Times and others, show that the officers portrayed a significantly different version of events from those depicted in videos Dao’s fellow passengers filmed on their cellphones.
The videos — which have been viewed by millions around the world and prompted several apologies from United CEO Oscar Munoz — show officers wrenching Dao from his seat. The passenger then hits his head on an armrest before being dragged down the aisle.
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Two of the aviation officers’ reports blame Dao for his injuries. One, filed by an officer named James Long, alleges: “the subject started swinging his arms up and down with a closed fist. Ofc. Long was able to grab the subject and pull him away from the window seat towards the aisle. But suddenly the subject started flailing and fighting.”
According to Long, it was Dao knocking the officer’s arm away, “which caused the subject to fall, hit, and injured his mouth on the armrest on the other side of the aisle.”
Thomas Demetrio, the Chicago personal injury lawyer representing Dao told the Times that the aviation officers’ reports were “utter nonsense.”