The officer who forcibly dragged a United Airlines passenger off his flight in April 2017 is now suing the airline — and the city of Chicago — over the circumstances surrounding his termination.
James Long, who was filmed yanking David Dao out of his seat and dragging the bloodied passenger off the April 2017 flight, filed the lawsuit against United, his former employers at the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the department’s commissioner, Ginger Evans, The Chicago Tribune reported.
According to court documents, Long claims United should have known that removing Dao from the flight would require “physical force” when requesting the services of aviation officers. His main gripe, however, appears to be with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), which he says failed to properly train him to deal with such situations.
“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, according to the Tribune.
Long further claims Commissioner Evans defamed him while speaking with the press and in tweets following the incident, citing examples in which she stated the actions of the officers were “completely inappropriate” and that those officers aren’t armed “for good reason.”
The suit alleges that with these statements, Evans made “deliberate and intentionally misleading omissions with the direct intention to harm” Long, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Long is also claiming United implied that he “sexually harassed or criminally stalked” Evans following the incident.
Long is reportedly seeking over $150,000 in damages, including back pay stemming from his termination in August.
Long was originally placed on administrative leave immediately following the April 9, 2017 incident, during which David Dao, the United Airlines passenger, was dragged off the flight.
In footage of the incident, Long can be seen dragging a bloodied Dao, who was 69 at the time, down the aisle of the plane after the passenger refused to give up his seat on the overbooked flight.
Dao reportedly reached an undisclosed settlement with United less than three weeks after the incident.