Both United and the Chicago Police Department have spoken out in regards to video of a violent assault of an Asian passenger, and their statements have only made the event worse, not better.
When the videos of the horrific attack on a passenger were circulated on Monday morning, many expressed that it was the most scandalous piece of bad press they had seen in a long while, but no one could have expected that United and the Chicago Police Department would manage to increase the scandal tenfold when offering an explanation for their actions.
United issued an initial statement apologizing to those who witnessed the videos for the situation of over-booking and directing all media inquiries to the Chicago Police Department, but offering no explanation or apology for the show of force exercised on their plane.
Then, this afternoon, United issued another statement, this time apologizing for “having to re-accommodate these customers,” and saying they planned to reach out to the beaten passenger.
Statement from @United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz: “I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.”
That’s one way of putting it. pic.twitter.com/Jq7VGoYv8Q
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) April 10, 2017
In addition to that non-statement, United spokesman Charlie Hobart dismissed the entire event, saying that everything had gone according to plan.
“We followed the right procedures. That plane had to depart. We wanted to get our customers to their destinations.”
Because what millions witnessed on that Chicago plane was just “procedure,” apparently. It’s truly good that Hobart made this well known so that the thousands of individuals who fly from one place to another will know what they might face if they are to book a United flight.
Making matters worse, the Chicago Police Department also issued their own statement on the event, continuing to minimize the brutality clearly seen by anyone who watched the videos. According to the Chicago PD, the passenger “fell,” causing the trauma to his face. Then, officers attempted to “help” him off of the plane.
He fell. pic.twitter.com/aQA0YmYWWx
— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) April 10, 2017
Seeing police departments protect their officers in the face of incredible brutality is nothing new, but this blatant denial in the face of clear video evidence to the contrary is startling.
The statement from the PD did make something clear that was not yet: the passenger that they violently assaulted and forced from the plane was 69 years old, putting him at a much higher risk of being permanently injured from the violent attack he faced. An elderly, male, minority, medical doctor was bloodied and dragged from a plane despite the fact that he was a law-abiding, paying customer who did nothing wrong.
United and the Chicago Police Department have made a serious mistake in their continued mishandling of this horrific event, and the unfortunate victim is entitled to a wealth of damages for the trauma he faced.