After authorities violently dragged a doctor off a United Airlines flight to free up his seat for an employee, the company CEO called David Dao “disruptive and belligerent.” But newly released video of the incident doesn’t appear to support the company’s argument.
“I’m a physician and I have to work tomorrow at 8 o’clock,” Dao politely tells Chicago airport security officers in the footage.
The video, taken by passenger Joya Cummings and uploaded to Facebook early Tuesday, shows a calm and restrained Dao.
“No, I am not going,” he says. “I am not going.”
Dao also talks on his phone to an unknown person, at one point discussing the possibility of a lawsuit against United.
An officer tells Dao that they will be forced to drag him off the plane.
“Then drag me down,” Dao responds. “I am staying right there.” He also says he’d rather go to jail.
A short time later, Dao was forcibly and brutally dragged off the airplane.
It’s possible that the confrontation became more heated between Dao and authorities before they pulled him from his seat. But other passengers on the plane can be heard arguing with authorities over Dao’s treatment as the horror unfolds.
The incident occurred Sunday after United asked volunteers to give up their seats on a flight from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, and then resorted to choosing people to be bumped off the plane involuntarily.
Dao refused to give up his already-purchased seat, and footage of him being dragged down the aisle by security went viral this week. United CEO Oscar Munoz apologized for having to “re-accomodate these customers.” Dao says he is still recovering in a hospital.
“He just wanted to go home, had to work the next day and did not feel it was right to have to give up his seat, a seat he was already sitting in upon the plane,” Cummings, who took the new video, said in a Facebook post. “I was not concerned for my safety, nor that of my toddler’s or for my pregnancy until the police were called aboard our plane to remove him. I was worried about what a physical altercation would entail with us sitting directly behind him and if the officers were armed in a tiny, confined space.”