United Airlines CEO blames unconscious bloody passenger for police assault on flight

In a horrifying story that’s taken over Twitter this morning, United Airlines last night had the Chicago police violently remove a passenger from a flight because United wanted his seat for some United employees.

And tonight, United CEO Oscar Munoz repeatedly blamed the passenger and praised his staff’s behavior. (See below.)

Please add your name to the petition calling on United to fix this now, and ensure that no passenger will ever be assaulted again on a United flight.

The man, reportedly a doctor returning to a hospital where he had to see a patient the next day, had paid for his ticket and was sitting in the right seat. United simply decided at the last minute that they wanted the man’s seat instead.

Unconscious United passenger, after Chicago police threw him into a headrest, being dragged out of the plane.

Understandably, the man was ticked. So United called the Chicago police, who violently dragged the man out of the plane. At one point, the cops dropped him, he hit his head on an arm rest, and what happened next shocked everyone. The cops dragged the man’s limp body from the airplane.

But it gets worse. The man, with blood streaming down his face, got back on the plane and seemed incoherent and in shock. There are videos galore.

UPDATE: United CEO Oscar Munoz is now blaming the passenger for the assault. In a letter to employees, Munoz praised his employees’ behavior and repeatedly blamed the passenger.

Please add your name to those calling on United to fix this and ensure it never happens again.

As a bit more background, United wanted four seats for its crew who needed to be at the destination city. The airline offered $400 per person for volunteers to give up their seats. Then $800. No one bit. So United had the computer pick four passengers at random, this man was one of them. When he said “no,” the police arrived and violently dragged the man off the flight.

The cops now claim the man “fell” while they were forcibly removing him. You can hear the cop after the man fell — he thought the guy was faking being unconscious, didn’t even bother checking.

Here’s the video of the man, bloody, and clearly in shock:

Here’s the Chicago police statement, it’s pretty awful:

chicago police statement

United’s statement is just as bad:

“I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement Monday. Munoz said the airline is trying to reach the passenger to “further address and resolve this situation.”

Re-accomodate. Nice.

Adding to their PR problem, United is refusing to comment on the incident, and referring questions to the Chicago police, as if this were a police matter. It’s really not. It’s about United Airlines assaulting one of their customers without cause.

Please add your name to those expressing their outrage to United Airlines, and calling on United to make this right with that poor man, and to change its policies to ensure this never happens again.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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