Published on Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Chicago cop suspended after shocking United Airlines passenger removal
A Chicago airport cop involved in the removal of an overbooked passenger on a United Airlines flight has been placed on leave.
The incident caused a barrage of online criticism of the response by police but the airline is taking the brunt for its poor handling of the situation and blame shifting.
"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," Chicago's aviation department said in a statement.
"That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation."
In a letter to employees, United CEO Oscar Munoz said the passenger became 'disruptive and belligerent' leaving flight crew with no other option than calling for police.
"Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this," Munoz wrote.
That response has only added to the social media scorn with #BoycottUnited trending in the US and in China.
On the overbooked flight, United had asked for volunteers to give up their seats to make way for four members of United Airlines' crew, who were required in Louisville.
Passengers were offered $400 and a hotel stay if they would take a flight the following day, but no-one came forward, so the offer was doubled to $800.
Still no-one came forward, so four passengers were then chosen at random.
The man, who was traveling with his wife and was already strapped in his seat, told cabin crew he was a doctor and had patients to treat the next day.
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky called on United Airlines to 'immediately change their policy.'
"This use of excessive force is absolutely unacceptable," Schakowsky said in a statement.
"The response from United Airlines has been brazenly inadequate - their apology over having to 're-accommodate' passengers is completely insulting, and their attempt to pass the buck by blaming the Chicago Police Department for the incident demonstrates that they do not understand the gravity of this incident. This is far from the end of the story," she added.