It was Dr. David Dao’s fault all along why he ended up with a bloody face during that infamous United Airline incident earlier this month, if the report of an aviation officer is to be believed.
According to the report filed by James Long, the officer who pulled the 69-year-old Vietnamese American out of his seat, the passenger was “verbally and physically abusive”, and had been “flailing his arms” before he lost his balance and hit his mouth on a seat’s armrest.
Dao was violently dragged off from his United Airlines (UAL) flight on April 9 after he refused to leave his paid seat to make room for airline employees to fly to Louisville, Kentucky.
Released by the Chicago Department of Aviation on Monday, the officer’s report was a response to the Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press, CBS reports. It was the first time that the officer’s version of the story was released to the public.
Long stated in the report that he was called in to manage a reported “disturbance” which involved two people who refused to leave the plane after they had been ordered off the airplane by the airline.
He then reportedly approached Dr. David Dao to ask him to get off the plane. Dao declined and “folded his arms tightly.”
Reaching out to “hold” Dao, Long said he was able to pull him out of his seat and toward the aisle. “But suddenly the subject started flailing and fighting,” Long explained.
Long further narrated that after Dao allegedly knocked Long’s hand off his arm, the resulting scuffle caused Dao to fall and strike his mouth on an armrest across the other side of the aisle. He then dragged the passenger out of the plane because he simply refused to stand up.
After Dao was removed from the airplane and he was in the walkway back to the gate, Dao announced that he was a diabetic, according to Long. Dao then immediately got back up and ran towards the aircraft.
Assisting officer Mauricio Rodriguez told CBS Chicago that Long used “minimal but necessary force.”
Another report released on Monday alleged that Dao struck his face against an armrest as aviation officers “attempted to escort” him out of the plane. The report, prepared by the Chicago Police Department under the title “Hospitalization Case Report,” ironically did not include details about Dao’s sustained injuries.
The aviation department has placed Long and two other officers on leave.