United Airlines, city agree to preserve evidence in Dao incident

FOX 32 / SUN-TIMES - United Airlines and the city of Chicago have agreed to preserve evidence in the dragging of a passenger from a plane at O’Hare International Airport.

Dr. David Dao’s attorneys filed an emergency legal petition last week to preserve a variety of records related to his removal.

A hearing scheduled for Monday was canceled after the city and United agreed to preserve all evidence, including video recordings, documents and materials, according to the agreement filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Representatives for United Airlines and the city’s Law Department did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the agreement.

Dr. David Dao was on a United Express flight from Chicago to Louisville Sunday when airline personnel realized they needed four more seats for an extra flight crew that was needed in Kentucky. Three other passengers eventually agreed to leave, but Dao insisted he needed to return home to care for patients.

Several cellphone videos captured Dao’s removal and Department of Aviation police dragging the man — whose face was bloodied — off the plane.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is standing by his aviation commissioner and refusing to predict what changes may result from the United passenger getting dragged off the flight.

“What happened the other day is totally all around unacceptable,” Emanuel said.

Mayor Emanuel told reporters that Aviation commissioner Ginger Evans did the right thing by suspending three Aviation Security Officers because of the United Airlines overbooking incident. Last week, some aldermen criticized Commissioner Evans for failing to closely supervise the airport security force, but the Mayor gave her a vote of confidence.   

“Ginger's going to run her operation, she's going to run her review, it's going to be reported back in the next two to three weeks, and there's going to be a lot answers about what we're going to do going forward that may be different,” Emanuel said.

The mayor said it's obvious that Doctor Dao's situation was mishandled.

“I think it's self-evident, everybody had the same, from the people that were watching it live, to the rest of us who saw it, you already knew that that was wrong,” Emanuel said.

United is conducting its own investigation, but it's already changing some practices. The airline says crew members will no longer be able to bump passengers off flights if those passengers are already on board. Crew members who do need to fly will have to request those seats at least an hour before the flight.

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