Several new developments have followed the release of shocking video footage that showed Chicago Aviation Department officers forcibly ejecting a doctor from an overbooked United Airlines flight. In the above video, at least one officer is shown violently pulling the still-unidentified passenger from his seat. His body hit the ground from the sheer force of being yanked in such a manner, and then he’s dragged down the aisle while other travelers protest. The man was later revealed as bloodied from his ordeal.
CBS News now reports that one officer has been placed on leave following the incident but not before something (else) made the department’s actions look questionable. Before relaying the officers’ actions as “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure,” the department issued a statement that concluded that the passenger “fell.” NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy relayed that news on Twitter.
The video footage shows fairly clearly that the man did not fall but was pushed. It’s hard to fathom why the department would try to claim otherwise, but they’re being roundly called out for doing so, which arrives in addition to the rest of the outrage surrounding this incident. United’s own statement also bears repeating:
Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate. We apologize for the overbook situation.
There’s been no word from the airline on whether they have apologized to the bloodied passenger, although CEO Oscar Munez previously tweeted that they’re trying to reach out to him to resolve the matter.