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updated: 4/10/2017 6:43 PM

Chicago alderman: After United incident, forget arming aviation officers

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  • This image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.

    This image made from a video provided by Audra D. Bridges shows a passenger being removed from a United Airlines flight in Chicago.
    Audra D. Bridges via AP

 
 

Viral video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight has virtually snuffed out any chance for aviation security officers to be authorized to carry weapons, an influential alderman told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday.

Alderman Mike Zalewski, chairman of the City Council's Aviation Committee, said Sunday's embarrassing incident at O'Hare Airport was so "poorly handled from A-to-Z" that aviation security officers have lost their argument to bear arms.

Zalewski said the aviation security officer, now on a leave of absence, had no business getting involved in the incident, let alone boarding the flight from Chicago to Louisville.

It should have been handled by United, O'Hare's flagship carrier, in the boarding area, before passengers ever boarded the flight, the alderman said.

And if the airline needed backup to handle a recalcitrant or unruly passenger, that should have been provided by Chicago police officers, who were just minutes away when the viral video was taken, Zalewski said.

"The flight was overbooked. They were looking for people to give up their seats for United employees ... This all should have been taken care of in the holding area -- not on the plane."

• See the full story at chicago.suntimes.com.

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