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2 Officers Fired For Dragging Doctor Off United Flight

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Two officers who physically dragged a doctor off of a United Airlines flight in April 2017 have been fired from their jobs and a  broader review of security practices at Chicago airports is underway.

The altercation between the officers and 69-year-old Dr. David Dao, which occurred on a Chicago-to-Louisville flight leaving from O'Hare International Airport, gained worldwide attention after a fellow passenger shared a smartphone video of the incident to social media.

The video shows a visibly distraught Dao being dragged out of his seat and onto the floor in order to make way for crew members to board the plane. According to the Chicago Tribune, Dao suffered a concussion, broken nose and two broken teeth from the ordeal.

NBC reports that United CEO Oscar Munoz issued a public apology to Dao and opened an investigation into what happened. The company reached an "amicable settlement" with Dao later in April, although the details were not disclosed.

In an investigation report released on Oct. 17, the city's Office of Inspector General announced that four United employees "mishandled the situation," the Chicago Tribune reports. The report also noted that the workers had "deliberately removed material facts from their reports."

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According to NBC, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson stated that two of the United personnel -- an officer and an Aviation Security sergeant -- were fired by the Chicago Department of Aviation. Another officer quit the job willingly while the fourth officer received a five-day suspension, which was shortened to two days after he filed an appeal.

None of the officer's identities were disclosed in the report and it is not clear whether the fired employees were given severance pay.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the security sergeant was fired for "escalating a non-threatening situation into a physically violent one by forcefully removing a passenger from the aircraft," which is a violation of the Department of Aviation's use of force policy.

The second officer was fired over making "misleading statements in two reports." The third officer was also found at fault for omitting certain details about the sergeant's use of force against Dao.

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Ferguson said in his report that the incident was emblematic of "significant confusion" about the role that unarmed air security officers play at Chicago's airports.

Earlier in 2017, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger S. Evans announced a new approach to those officers' roles, including stripping the word "police" from their titles.

Some have accused Evans of being too harsh on the officers and blaming them for her own shortcomings in management. Roderick Sawyer, the chairman of the City Council's Black Caucus, has argued that air security officers should keep the word "police" in their titles, but should also be required to undergo four months of training at the police academy.

According to NBC, Ferguson noted that the Chicago Department of Aviation is set to review its security division’s policies and procedures. That review is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2018.

Sources: NBC, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times (2) / Featured Image: Alan Wilson/Flickr / Embedded Images: Teagasc/Wikimedia Commons, Wwt2112/Wikimedia Commons

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