James Long, Officer Who Dragged David Dao From United Aircraft, Sues Airline

Darnell Taylor
April 12, 2018

A Chicago aviation security officer, fired a year ago for his part in dragging a man off a United Airlines flight, is suing the city, saying his employers were negligent because they didn't provide him with proper training to deal with passengers who are hard to remove from a plane. The lawsuit was filed against United, Long's former employers at the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the department's commissioner, Ginger Evans.

According to Long, the department didn't provide him with the proper training to respond to the Dao situation.

He was put on administrative leave pending the conclusion of a disciplinary investigation, then that August he was sacked. Evans' statements had "deliberate and intentionally misleading omissions with the direct intention to harm" Long, the lawsuit asserts.

"Long is seeking damages relating to his loss of salary as an aviation officer, benefits including vacation, insurance coverage and retirement plans, and punitive damages and legal costs, according to the lawsuit". The flight was scheduled to travel from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky.

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Previous reports say that United Airlines reached a confidential settlement with Dao to the tune of $140 million for the injuries he suffered, including a broken nose, a concussion, and broken teeth. He also reportedly required surgery for a sinus problem.

Video which showed Vietnamese American David Dao being dragged down the aisle of the plane by officers, sparked global outrage. The report said a non-life-threatening situation was turned into the "physically violent and forceful removal of a passenger".

Dao's attorney, Thomas Demetrio, had no comment on Long's account. "I sincerely hope that all other airlines make similar changes and follow United's lead in helping to improve the passenger flying experience with an emphasis on empathy, patience, respect and dignity".

In the suit filed in Cook County on April 10, James Long argued that he was not properly trained to deal with misbehaving passengers and that United Airlines "knew or should have known" that calling officers to "remove a passenger who was refusing to leave their plane would require the use of physical force".

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