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United Airlines face criticism over viral video, CEO defends staff

The video showed officers grabbing the man from a window seat and then pulling him across the armrest. He was then dragged down the aisle.

A video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines plane by police officers went viral on Monday and sparked a huge uproar on social media. The video had hundreds of millions of viewers and the outrage was palpable. United Airlines faced heavy criticism from all quarters and some lawmakers even insisted that the matter should be investigated immediately.

Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines has come out in support of the staff involved in the incidence. He issued a statement on Monday defending the Airline’s action by saying that the passenger had become disruptive and belligerent and had defied security officers. He said that the employees had behaved according to established protocol.


Video courtesy: USA TODAY

The man who was dragged off has not been named but he had identified himself as a doctor during the incidence and another passenger said that the man mentioned that he is of Chinese descent. The United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked, and the passenger was asked to deplane so that crew members could be accommodated. Munoz mentioned in his statement that when the passenger refused to leave Aviation Security Officers were called to help.

The video showed officers grabbing the man from a window seat and then pulling him across the armrest. He was then dragged down the aisle. The man was screaming and bloodied. In the video other passengers could be heard saying, “Please, my God,” ”What are you doing?” ”This is wrong,” ”Look at what you did to him,” and “busted his lip.”

“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” a Chicago Dept. of Aviation statement Monday said. “That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.”

The video was posted by passenger Audra D. Bridges, her husband Tyler Bridges said that United Airlines first asked for volunteers to give up their seats. When no one came forward, they named four passengers at random, three of them complied immediately. But the fourth person refused to leave. He said he was a doctor and had patients to see in the morning and the next flight to Louisville was only available on the next afternoon.

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