WGN Investigates has obtained reports filed by Chicago Department of Aviation security officers involved in an April incident in which a United Airlines passengers was violently dragged off a plane parked at O’Hare International Airport. Aviation officers describe the passenger as the aggressor and claim they used “minimal but necessary force to remove the subject.” The reports also state that passenger David Dao said “just kill me” to the officers.
United was trying to force Dao off the flight to make room for its employees who were scheduled to work a flight out of Louisville the next morning. Dao and other passengers declined the airline’s offer for compensation when they realized they wouldn’t get to Louisville until the following day.
"I'm not leaving this flight that I paid money for,” police reports quote Dau as saying. “I don't care if I get arrested."
With fellow passengers recording video – some shouting in horror - the situation quickly escalated. The aviation security officer who dragged Dao off the plane wrote in his report that Dao was "swinging his arms up and down with a closed fist." The officer says Dao was "flailing and fighting." He said it was the passenger's own combativeness that caused him knock his head into a seat divider.
Reports state that after Dao was dragged off the plane he rushed back on board. The flight crew reported Dao was “spitting blood” while in the aft galley.
The Chicago Department of Aviation has suspended with pay the officers involved. Personnel files released under the Freedom of Information Act show the officer who dragged Dao was just coming off a several day suspension for not obeying orders to guard an airport entrance.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized for the incident. The airline has also changed some policies government when and how passengers can be removed from its aircraft.