2 officers fired in connection with dragging doctor off United flight

PHOTO: A video screengrab shows passenger David Dao being dragged off a United Airlines flight at Chicago OHare International Airport in this video filmed by @JayseDavid April 9, 2017. PlayREUTERS
WATCH United Airlines passenger apparently dragged off flight after refusing to give up seat

The Chicago Department of Aviation has fired two officers involved in the Dr. David Dao incident that rocked the commercial airline industry earlier this year, the Chicago Inspector General's Office revealed today.

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Two other agents have been suspended, the office added.

In a video that quickly went viral, officials were seen dragging Dao, bruised and bloodied, down the aisle of his United Airlines jet on the ground at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

The airline later confirmed the elderly physician and his wife had been involuntarily bumped to make room for deadheading crew members.

Dao was hospitalized for a concussion and facial injuries sustained when he hit his head on an armrest during the incident.

The inspector general's investigation concluded several Chicago aviation security officers "mishandled" the situation, using "excessive force" in a "physically violent" passenger altercation on United 3411, the Chicago IG's office said today.

Officers also "made misleading statements and deliberately removed material facts from their reports," according to the inspector general's office.

Among those terminated was an officer on the aircraft as well as a sergeant accused of falsifying the report.

In the wake of the incident, United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized and pledged the company would never again "put a law enforcement official onto a plane ... to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger."

Though Dao settled a lawsuit against the airline for an undisclosed sum, his attorney would not comment on whether his client planned to sue Chicago aviation.

"United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago," Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said in a statement. "For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."

In a statement today, Demetrio said it was "unfortunate the conduct of these two city aviation employees has resulted in their losing their jobs."

"However, this is not a day of celebration for Dr. Dao, who is 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. But for the video, the filed report stating that only 'minimal' force was used would have been unnoticed. Simply put, don’t make stuff up. Also, the Inspector General’s report should become the poster child for why passengers should always maintain the right to videotape mistreatment of all kinds. Our cellphones are the best deterrent to ensure mistreatment becomes a rarity."

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