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United Airlines video: Officer suspended after man dragged off flight 3411

The Independent logo The Independent 11/04/2017 Harriet Agerholm

An airport security officer who was filmed wrestling a screaming man out of his aeroplane seat and dragging him down the aisle, has been suspended from his job, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).

Footage of a 69-year-old being removed from the United Airlines flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport provoked outrage after it was shared online.

The passenger, who said he was a doctor that needed to get home to treat patients the next day, was filmed with blood flowing down his chin.

“I want to go home," he could be heard saying. "I want to go home."

With the flight overbooked, United Airlines had asked for volunteers to give up their seats, offering passengers $400 (£322) and then $800 (£645) when no one came forward. 

When no one agreed to leave the flight, the airline selected four passengers at random. Three got off, but the fourth refused, saying he had patients he needed to treat.

“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 spokesperson from the CDA told the Chicago Sun-Timesnewspaper.

“That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.“

They did not name the officer, clarify the reason for his suspension or say whether he would remain on full pay.

Aviation department security officers are responsible for policing inside the security cordon at the airport.

The Chicago Police, which operates separately, had earlier released a statement which said the passenger had injured his face when he “fell” into the armrest.

© Provided by Independent Print Limited “A 69-year-old male Asian airline passenger became irate when he was asked to disembark from a flight that was oversold," it said. “The passenger in question began yelling to voice his displeasure at which point Aviation Police were summoned. Aviation Officers arrived on scene attempted to carry the individual off of the flight when he fell.

“His head subsequently struck an armrest causing injuries to his face.”

The police statement added that the man was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. An investigation into the incident was ongoing, it said.

The video has caused embarrassment for Chicago, which was already grappling with a reputation for police brutality.

The city had previously attracted attention for being unable to curb a crime wave in some neighbourhoods — an issue President Donald Trump has highlighted with critical tweets.

Oscar Munoz, the chief executive of United Airlines' parent company United Continental Holdings, publicly apologised for having to “re-accommodate” passengers on the flight.

But in a separate letter to employees that was subsequently leaked, he defended the actions of his staff aboard the flight.

Describing the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent", he said the travellers had been told to leave the plane to free-up seats for four employees of a partner airline.

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