The following is a statement from OCA—Asian Pacific American Advocates.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates demands answers regarding the violent removal of a United passenger.
On Sunday, April 9, prior to the departure of United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, a passenger was violently removed from the aircraft as a result of the airline overbooking the flight and not having enough room for other crewmembers. Chicago Department of Aviation security officers pulled the victim, David Dao, who identified himself as Asian and a doctor, out of his seat and dragged him down the aisle to the exit. Dao then attempted to return to the aircraft with his face bruised and bloody, visibly shaken, and repeating “just kill me” and “I have to go home.” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz only offered an apology for having to “re-accomodate these customers,” with no mention of the violence involved in the removal. In a separate email on Monday night, Munoz was dismissive about the passenger and stood behind the policies and procedures of the airline.
In response to the incident, OCA is sending a letter to United Airlines, the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the U.S. Department of Transportation demanding a complete audit of the incident. OCA is also calling for Congressional hearings in both the House and Senate to investigate ticket sales and boarding processes by United and other airlines.
“We were deeply disturbed by the videos of the United Airlines passenger, who was a victim of the company’s poor booking policies, being violently dragged from the airplane. This episode reflects very poorly on our country and demonstrates a lack of judgment responsible of several parties. In responding to this incident, United should be conducting a thorough and objective investigation, addressing the incident directly, and apologizing for the vicious way it was handled. The Chicago Department of Aviation should also be held accountable for why their officers felt it necessary to use violence to remove the passenger,” says Ken Lee, OCA Chief Executive Officer.
“Indeed, the optics of a bloodied elderly Asian man being forcibly removed from his seat is something we cannot ignore. Regardless of race or background, all individuals’ rights and freedoms must be protected within the system. This incident is a clear example of authorities using excessive force. We demand answers from United Airlines and the Chicago Department of Aviation. We look forward to hearing from the various governmental agencies in regard to this incident.”
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).