Officer fired after dragging passenger sues United, Chicago

Updated 4/11/2018 12:39 PM

CHICAGO -- An aviation security officer who was fired after forcibly dragging a passenger from a plane last year is suing United Airlines and the city of Chicago, claiming he wasn't properly trained to deal with such a situation and he was defamed in the aftermath.

James Long was one of the officers called to a plane in April 2017 after Dr. David Dao refused to give up his seat to a United employee traveling from O'Hare International Airport to Louisville. Video taken by other passengers show Long dragging a bloodied Dao from the plane.


Long was fired in August. Another officer involved was also fired, while a third resigned.

Long filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court against the Chicago Department of Aviation, its commissioner, Ginger Evans, and United. He's seeking more than $150,000 in damages.

According to Long, the department didn't provide him with the proper training to respond to the Dao situation.

"But for the CDA's negligence and failure to train (Long) how to respond to an escalating situation with an airline passenger, (he) would not have acted in the manner he did, which resulted in his termination," the lawsuit states.

It alleges that Evans defamed Long in social media posts and statements to news outlets in which she labeled the officers' actions as "completely inappropriate." Evans' statements had "deliberate and intentionally misleading omissions with the direct intention to harm" Long, the lawsuit asserts.

Meanwhile, United should have known that security officers would use physical force, the lawsuit argues.

Spokesmen for United and the city declined to comment Wednesday, saying they hadn't received the lawsuit.

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