United Airlines passenger brutally dragged from plane for no good reason

His sin? Booking a ticket on a full flight.

CREDIT: Video screengrab
CREDIT: Video screengrab

Videos posted to social media show uniformed security agents violently assaulting a passenger on a United Airlines plane as he is forced off a flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday evening.

While the man was being physically removed from his seat, he appeared to be knocked unconscious. The uniformed men then drag him down the plane aisle as other passengers look on in horror.

A United spokesperson told the Louisville Courier-Journal that “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked.” That prompted staff members to ask for volunteers to take another flight.

“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate,” the spokesperson added.

Here’s how law enforcement dealt with that customer, who according to other passengers is a doctor who had to be back in Louisville to see patients Monday morning:

The passenger who posted that video provided a few more details on Twitter.

A second video shows the incident from another angle:

The woman who posted that video to Facebook, Audra D. Bridges, told the Courier-Journal that passengers boarded the flight, but were then told four people needed to volunteer to exit to make room for United employees who had to travel to Louisville. United offered $800 for volunteers, but had no takers.

A United manager then came aboard the plane and explained that a computer would randomly select four people who would then have to exit. The man who was later dragged off the flight was among them.

“The manager told him that security would be called if he did not leave willingly, Bridges said, and the man said he was calling his lawyer,” the Courier-Journal reports, conveying Bridges’ account of events. “One security official came and spoke with him, and then another security officer came when he still refused. Then, she said, a third security official came on the plane and threw the passenger against the armrest before dragging him out of the plane.”

Another video shows the man, apparently in distress, getting back on the plane after being dragged off.

The Courier-Journal reports that after the man reentered the plane, passengers were told to exit “so that officials could ‘tidy up’ the plane before taking off.” The man was then removed from the plane from the plane for a second time, this time on a stretcher, the Washington Post reports.

According to BuzzFeed, United redirected questions about the incident to the Chicago Police, who redirected questions to the Chicago Department of Aviation, who referred questions to a TSA, who declined to comment.

The Flight 3411 incident comes just weeks after United took heavy criticism for banning two pre-teen girls from a flight for wearing leggings. It later emerged the girls were traveling for free as dependents of a United staff member.

Following the leggings incident, a United spokesperson told the New York Times that the girls were “representing” the company and therefore not allowed to wear overly tight clothing.

“We want people to be comfortable when they travel as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment,” the spokesman said.

UPDATE: United Airlines has released a statement in response to the incident. Notably, CEO Oscar Munoz did not directly apologize to the passenger who was brutalized.

UPDATE II: In a phone interview with the Associated Press, United spokesman Charlie Hobart defended how his airline handled the situation.

“We followed the right procedures,” Hobart said. “That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations.”

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department released a statement describing the passenger as “irate” and “yelling.” The statement attributes no blame to officers or the airline for the man’s injuries.

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