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United row passenger lost two front teeth, had a broken nose and concussion

Dr David Dao also said that being dragged from the airplane was “more horrifying” than leaving Vietnam.

Image: Twitter

A LAWYER REPRESENTING the United passenger who was dragged off a flight earlier this week, has said his client lost two front teeth, broke his nose and suffered a concussion in Sunday’s incident.

Dr David Dao was dragged off a flight Sunday by airport police after he refused to give up his seat on the full plane to make room for crew members. A video of the events was circulated on social media, leading to worldwide outrage and an apology from the airline.

In a lengthy press conference this afternoon, Thomas Demetrio said that Dao told him that being forcibly removed from the airplane was “more horrifying” than leaving Vietnam during the fall of Saigon.

The 69-year-old has been discharged from hospital but will require reconstructive surgery.

The doctor’s daughter, Crystal Pepper, attended the media briefing, saying he was a “wonderful” father of five and “loving grandfather”. She added that her family was “horrified, shocked and sickened” to see what had happened to him, adding that the film being widely distributed “exacerbated” the hurt.

Demetrio said he likely will file a lawsuit on Dao’s behalf, adding that airlines — and United in particular — have long “bullied” passengers by overbooking flights and then bumping customers. He said the treatment of his client was particularly violent, but “it took something like this to get a conversation going.”

They have treated us less than maybe we deserve. Are we going to continue to be treated like cattle?

PR disaster

The incident has become a public-relations nightmare for United and led to the suspension of the three police officers, who work for the Chicago Department of Aviation, a city-run agency.

The airline’s CEO Oscar Munoz eventually issued a public apology – two days after first blaming Dao. He said he was “ashamed” when he saw the video. He promised the company will review its policies and that law enforcement will no longer be allowed to remove passengers.

The company also announced that all passengers of the Express Flight 3411 would be compensated with cash, travel credits or miles in an amount equal to the cost of their tickets.

Demetrio said he and his client accept the apology, but that it seemed “staged” and like it was issued because the airline was taking a public relations “beating”.

He said Dao didn’t remember what exactly occurred when he was removed from the flight, including getting back on the plane, because of the concussion he suffered. Demetrio also said he doesn’t believe Dao’s race — Dao came to the US in 1975 — played a role in what happened.

Pepper said her father and mother were traveling from California to Louisville, and caught a connecting flight at O’Hare. After what occurred, Dao “has no interest in ever seeing an airplane” and will likely be driven to Kentucky, Demetrio said.

The video shined an unwanted spotlight on the airline and the little-known police force that guards Chicago’s two main airports, and it could threaten the agency’s future.

Chicago’s aviation officers are not part of the regular police force, unlike in many other big cities. They get less training than regular officers and can’t carry firearms inside the airports.

With reporting by AP

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