Newly released police reports, obtained after several news organizations filed a Freedom Of Information Act request, suggest that Dr. David Dao—the man who was forcefully removed from his United Airlines seat on April 9—behaved violently himself and was responsible for his own injuries.
The claims were made by two of the four Chicago Aviation Police Dept. officers who violently removed Dao from his seat when he refused to be involuntarily bumped off the flight, dragging him up the aisle and off the plane.
The scene was captured on passenger cellphone video, which quickly went viral and created a public relations disaster for United.
One report, filed by Officer James Long, stated that Long approached Dao and “attempted to assist the subject off his seat with two hands, but the subject started swinging his arms up and down fast and violently.”
After Long began to pull Dao from his seat, Dao “then started flailing his arms and started to fight with Officer Long.”
Dao was able knock Long’s right arm free, and the report stated that “Consequentially, the subject fell and hit his mouth on the armrest across from him.”
Dao’s attorney, Chicago-based Thomas Demetrio, has said Dao suffered two broken teeth, a broken nose and a concussion during the incident. In a statement to the New York Times, Demetrio dismissed the police reports,
“It’s utter nonsense. Consider the source,” he said.
Officer Mauricio Rodriguez Jr. wrote in his report that Long “assisted the subject by using minimal but necessary (sic) force to remove the subject.”
Interestingly, both Rodriguez and Officer Steven Smith prefaced their reports by saying they were writing against their will.
“(This) “statement is not being given voluntary (sic), but under duress,” Smith wrote. “I am only giving this statement (sic) at this time because I know that I could lose my job if I refuse the direct order being given to me.”
Demetrio said Dao is planning a lawsuit against United Airlines.