A disgruntled ex-aviation officer who was terminated for dragging David Dao off an aircraft is suing the City of Chicago and United Airlines.
It has now been a year since the Dao incident. Most have moved on, but ex-Chicago Aviation Officer James Long has not. Yesterday, he filed a lawsuit alleging that he was improperly fired for dragging off Dao. He is seeking back pay and lost contributions to his 401(k) account. He is also alleging that a Chicago Department of Aviation commissioner defamed him.
I’ve covered Long’s side of the story before.
He maintains that he was poorly trained and that United knew exactly what it was asking for when it called him onboard.
Furthermore, Long claims that the Chicago Department of Aviation failed to take his claims seriously, investigate the matter thoroughly, or truly seek to understand his side of the story.
I do not doubt that Long failed to receive specific instruction on the “level of force continuum” to be employed in situations like a passenger adamantly refusing to vacate his seat. I also believe he was called on to be the bouncer and did his job. It is highly unlikely he intended to hurt Dao or break his teeth: he just wanted him off the aircraft.
Even so, is it wrong to say that we while he should have been better trained, he also lacked the critical instincts to perform in a public-facing role? Is his defense really just that he was following orders?
I am aware that many of you blame Dao for everything: that he got what he deserved. A year later, I maintain that Dao was the victim.
Even so, I find it disheartening that Long was made a scapegoat for a far deeper problem.
image: Jordan Staub / Flickr CC 2.0