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Officers fired following probe of United passenger dragging

A United Airlines jet taxis as another lands at San Francisco International Airport. (Reuters)
CHICAGO: The city of Chicago revealed Tuesday that it fired two airport police officers in connection with the controversial removal of a passenger from a United Airlines plane earlier this year.
Video went viral online of a bloodied David Dao being dragged off the full flight by airport officers to make room for airline crew needing to be repositioned for future flights.
The April incident on a flight from the midwestern US city to Louisville, Kentucky caused an international uproar.
Chicago inspector general Joseph Ferguson, who heads a city watchdog office, had been pursuing an internal probe of the officers’ actions, and revealed Tuesday that two of the four had been fired and the other two suspended.
Ferguson did not detail when the disciplinary actions were taken nor reveal the officers’ identities.
“Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) employees mishandled a non-threatening situation that resulted in the physically violent forcible removal of a passenger,” the inspector general’s public report stated.
The fired employees were the officer who initially pulled Dao from his seat and the supervisor who engaged in “the deliberate removal of facts from an employee report,” the inspector general said.
Two other officers, one who “made misleading statements in two reports” and another who “made material omissions in a report,” were handed five-day suspensions.
One of the suspended officers chose to resign instead.
Dao’s lawyer Thomas Demetrio said his client was “neither vindictive nor happy about Mr.Ferguson’s findings.”
“There is a lesson to be learned here for police officers at all levels. Do not state something that is clearly contrary to video viewed by the world.”
The bloody encounter was captured on video by alarmed passengers and shared online — causing a firestorm of negative publicity for United.
After initially mishandling the aftermath, the airline repeatedly apologized, settled with Dao for an undisclosed sum, and announced a series of operational changes to avoid future incidents.

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