The union that represents United Airlines' 12,500 pilots has weighed in on the forced removal of a passenger in Chicago, saying its members are "infuriated" at what happened and criticizing the actions of the aviation police.
United Master Executive Council, the union representing the airline's pilots, issued a statement addressing how the incident was handled and offering more details of what occurred, Business Insider reported.
— United MEC (@UnitedPilots) April 14, 2017
"This violent incident should never have happened and was a result of gross excessive force by Chicago Department of Aviation personnel," the union said.
On Sunday Dr. David Dao, 69, was forcibly dragged from a flight bound for Louisville after he refused to relinquish his seat to accommodate a crew member. He suffered a concussion, broken nose and lost two teeth, according to his lawyer.
The video of the encounter went viral and sparked outrage and has prompted some area police agencies to issue new hands-off policies when it comes to removing passengers from airlines.
The company's CEO Oscar Munoz apologized twice for the encounter.
The union statement went on to say that no United employees were involved in the altercation. Republic Airlines was contracted to operated the Express Flight for United and made a last-minute decision to have four crew members "deadhead" or fly as passengers to get to another assignment the next day.
Three paying passengers left the flight voluntarily after they were supposedly selected at random. After Dao refused to give up his seat, the gate agent requested the help of law enforcement, the statement said.
"For reasons unknown to us, instead of trained Chicago Police Department officers being dispatched to the scene, Chicago Department of Aviation personnel responded," the union said. "At this point, without direction and outside the control of United Airlines or the Republic crew, the Chicago Department of Aviation forcibly removed the passenger."
The event was an "anomaly" and is not how United or the police are expected to treat passengers absent a security threat, the union said, adding the 91-year-old airline, its 82,000 employees and 12,500 pilots should be measured by more than one incident.
"The United Airlines MEC is confident that the steps we are taking as a company will ensure this type of inexcusable event never happens again," the statement said.