Lawyer: Dragged off United flight passenger may file suit

Updated 2017-04-14 10:00:49 Xinhua

Lawyer Thomas Demetrio (L), who is representing David Dao, the passenger who was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight, speaks as lawyer Stephen Golan (C) and Dao's daughter Crystal Dao Pepper look on during a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, the United States, on April 13, 2017. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)

The passenger who was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight on Sunday night may file a lawsuit against the company, his lawyer Tom Demetrio said at a press conference Thursday.

While answering questions from reporters, Tom Demetrio said the passenger, David Dao, 69 years old, has a serious concussion, a broken nose, injury to the sinuses, and lost two front teeth as a result of the incident, adding the passenger also has psychological injuries because the rudeness of the treatment by security officials.

The lawyer said they have taken the first legal steps toward filing a lawsuit.

During the same press conference, Dao's daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper told reporters that "what happened to my dad should not have happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstance."

"We were horrified, and shocked, and sickened to learn what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him. We hope that in the future, nothing like this happens again."

Pepper thanked the medical team and people from around the world for what she described as an "outpouring of prayers, love, and concern."

Video of the incident has gone viral on social media, with commentators accusing United Airlines of racism and having included several calls for a boycott.

The video shows three security officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation pulling the passenger David Dao out of his seat, and in the ensuing struggle, hitting his head on the armrest. The video then shows that Dao was dragged off the plane by the arms.

During a press conference on Thursday morning, the attorney told reporters that the City of Chicago bears responsibility as well.

"So were these three officers, these storm troopers, for a moment, doing the right thing? No, not at all," Demetrio said. "This was not a troubled passenger. This was not a nutjob. This was not a threat to anybody. Should he have been unceremoniously dragged out of that plane the way he was? He's a 69-year-old man. Is that really the way we went to treat the aged disembarking that plane?"

The viral reaction also extended to the markets as United Airlines stock dipped up nearly 4 percent during the morning session after the incident, and the Chief Executive Officer has publicly apologized in an interview with U.S. media.

"He was a paying passenger, sitting on our seat in our aircraft and no one should be treated that way period," Munoz said. United Airlines' stock has since recovered most of that loss.

Due to the concussion, Demetrio said that passenger David Dao has no recollection of the incident, and was released from the hospital on Tuesday night. According to the attorney, Dao will likely drive home to Louisville from Chicago, instead of taking a plane.

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