Officers fired following probe of United passenger dragging

A United Airlines jet taxis as another lands at San Francisco International Airport. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2017
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Officers fired following probe of United passenger dragging

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.


Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

Updated 13 min 5 sec ago
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Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

  • Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency.
  • Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.

Jakarta: Eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Thursday after being nabbed with around a ton of crystal methamphetamine in a country that has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws.
The men were arrested during raids last July, when the drug network’s suspected leader was killed in a shootout with Indonesian police.
“The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of colluding and smuggling narcotics,” presiding judge Haruno Patriadi said as he passed sentence at the South Jakarta District Court.
Tipped off by their Taiwanese counterparts, Indonesian police said they discovered some 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of crystal meth — shipped by boat from China — packed inside about 50 boxes. The haul was reportedly worth some $144 million.
Some of the suspects were arrested at a beach where the drugs were delivered some 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Jakarta, while others were apprehended in the suspected drug boat near Singaporean waters.
The sentence passed on the men — Liao Guan-Yu, Chen Wei-Cyuan, Hsu Yung-Li, Juang Jin Sheng, Sun Kuo Tai, Sun Chih-Feng, Kuo Chun Yuan, and Tsai Chih Hung — comes after 11 other Taiwanese drug smugglers were condemned to death in Indonesia in recent years.
Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.
Several foreign and Indonesian nationals have been executed by firing squad in recent years for drug trafficking, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.
Capital punishment is carried out by firing squad in Indonesia, which has slowed the pace of its executions in recent years despite broad public support for the penalty.
President Joko Widodo has said Indonesia is in the grips of a drug “emergency” and called for police to shoot suspected drug dealers who attempt to resist arrest.
The police regularly announce drug busts including one in February when they seized 1.6 tons of crystal meth hidden on a Singapore-flagged ship between Indonesia’s Sumatra island and the city state.
A subsequent search of the ship turned up the huge haul of narcotics stuffed into some 81 rice sacks. Four Taiwanese crew were arrested including a 69-year-old man.
Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency, with China listed as the biggest source country.