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City Won't Have To Pay Doctor Dragged Off Flight Under United Settlement

By Heather Cherone | April 28, 2017 12:12pm | Updated on May 1, 2017 8:38am
 Dr. David Dao  is suing the city and United Airlines after being dragged off a flight.
Dr. David Dao is suing the city and United Airlines after being dragged off a flight.
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CITY HALL — City taxpayers will not have to pay a single penny to the bloodied and bruised doctor who was dragged off a United Airlines airplane April 9 after he reached a confidential settlement with the airline.

Dr. David Dao's lawyers confirmed Friday that the settlement includes a provision that prohibits him from suing the city, even though his nose was broken, two of his front teeth knocked out and he suffered a concussion at the hands of three city Aviation Security Officers. Those officers have been suspended with pay while the investigation is ongoing.

At an April 13 hearing, several aldermen said they thought it was a forgone conclusion that they would eventually have to approve a massive payment to Dao to settle his claims stemming from the incident captured on widely seen videos.

"You should apologize to the whole city of Chicago and the taxpayers," 37th Ward Ald. Emma Mitts told Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans.

Dao was on his way home from O'Hare to Louisville on April 9 when he was ordered off the plane to make room for United contracted pilots. When he refused, saying he had appointments with patients he had to keep, Aviation Department officers dragged him off.

The videos show officers pulling Dao, bleeding, from his plane seat and dragging him by his arms down the plane's aisle. Other videos show Dao jogging up and down the plane's aisle and leaning against a curtain, bleeding and saying, "Please kill me."

United CEO Oscar Munoz, initially said Dao had been "disruptive and belligerent" and the airline's crew "followed procedures" during the incident.

Later, Munoz apologized and described the incident as "truly horrific."

Dao's lawyers said Munoz had done "the right thing" while announcing the settlement.

"United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the City of Chicago," Dao's attorney Thomas Demetrio said in a news release. "For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded."

Evans also apologized for what happened during an emergency hearing of the City Council Aviation Committee. Evans said Aviation security officers would no longer wear uniforms that used the word "police" and they'd been told to identify themselves as "security" even before the incident.

“I want to express our extreme regret for the actions of our officers," Evans said.

Documents show that officers told supervisors they used "minimal but necessary" force when removing Dao.

On Thursday, city officials fired Jeff Redding, the head of the security force charged with protecting passengers at O'Hare and Midway airports.