By Chinta Strausberg
Expressing total disgust after viewing a video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines Flight because he refused to give up his seat for United employees, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Tuesday called for picketing the airline Wednesday, April 12th, at the United Gate at O’Hare Airport.
The nightmare for Dr. David Dao, 69, began last Sunday when Chicago Department of Aviation security officers announced they had to bump four passengers on Flight #3411 to accommodate four United crewmembers.
When no one responded, the officers said they would be randomly chosen. “A computer has no soul. Don’t blame it on the computer,” said Rev. Jackson who labeled the attack on the passenger as “brutal” and called for the firing of the security officer. “United should be sued. “The cameras told the story.”
While the doctor told the officers he had patients waiting in Louisville, his pleas fell on death ears. The officers said United needed those seats for their employees and that is when the showdown began.
Dr. Dao refused to leave the plane prompting officers to drag him down the aisle. His lip was bloodied as officers pulled him off the plane. “They should beat the competition, not the customer,” an irate Rev. Jackson said.
United has a history of removing its own customers like last year the airline booted off 3,875 passengers and just last month, United was widely criticized when its personnel barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight just because they were wearing leggings which is a dress code violation for passengers traveling on employee passes.
Initially, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, who won an award last month as “Communicator of the Year,” stood by his officers writing a letter to them saying, “Dear Team. Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville.
“While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did…,” Munoz backed the actions of his guards.
However, less than 24-hours later, Munoz flipped the script from calling Dr. Dao “disruptive” and “belligerent” to offering his “deepest apologies for what happened…. No one should ever be mistreated this way,” Munoz said calling the incident “truly horrific.”
Taking a holistic approach to the United Airlines incident, Rev. Jackson is asking to meet with Mr. Munoz. He wants to know the ethnic composition of United’s board of directors and to discuss the airlines overall diversity and community relations.
In the interim, Rev. Jackson added, “We will picket and protest United Airlines for attacking and disrespecting its own customers.” CNN reported Tuesday that United Airline stocks plummeted since the video went viral.