The Latest: Lawyer: United apology was ‘staged’

Chicago (AP) – The Latest on the removal of a passenger who was dragged off a United Express flight in Chicago (all times local):

11 a.m.

A lawyer for the passenger who was dragged from a United Express flight says he and his client accept the airline CEO’s public apology but think it was insincere.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio said at a news conference Thursday that he thinks the apology that United CEO Oscar Munoz’s issued two days after first blaming the passenger, Dr. David Dao, was “staged” and done because the airline was taking a public relations “beating.”

Dao was dragged off a flight Sunday by airport guards after he refused to give up his seat on the full plane to make room for crew members.

Demetrio says Dao will “probably” sue over the incident and that the city of Chicago, which employs the guards, is also responsible.

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10:35 a.m.

A lawyer for the passenger forcibly removed from a United Express flight says the experience was more horrifying than when he left Vietnam during the fall of Saigon.

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.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio says Dao came to the U.S. in 1975.

His daughter says the 69-year-old is the father of five children.

Demetrio says he “probably” will file a lawsuit on Dao’s behalf.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has said he was “ashamed” when he saw the video and that the airline is reviewing its policies. Munoz says law enforcement won’t be involved in removing passengers in the future.

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10:25 a.m.

A lawyer for a man dragged off a United Express flight says he suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two front teeth.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio said at a news conference Thursday that Dr. David Dao has been discharged from a hospital but will need reconstructive surgery.

Dao was removed from the plane Sunday after he refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago to Louisville.

His daughter says the family was “horrified, shocked and sickened” to learn and see what happened.

Crystal Pepper says seeing her father removed from the Sunday flight was “exacerbated” by the fact it was caught on video and widely distributed.

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10:15 a.m.

A lawyer for a man dragged off a United Express flight says airlines have “bullied” passengers “for a long time.”

Thomas Demetrio said at a news conference Thursday that airlines have treated us as “less than maybe we deserve.”

Dr. David Dao was dragged from the airliner after he refused to give up his seat on the full flight.

Demetrio says he “probably” will file a lawsuit on Dao’s behalf.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has said he was “ashamed” when he saw the video and that the airline is reviewing its policies. Munoz says law enforcement won’t be involved in removing passengers in the future.

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9:45 a.m.

The daughter of a man who was forcibly removed from a United Express flight is expected to join her father’s attorneys at a Chicago news conference.

A spokeswoman for the law firm representing Dr. David Dao says the lawyers and Dao’s daughter will speak Thursday about Dao’s removal from a full jetliner at O’Hare International Airport on Sunday.

Dao’s lawyers already have taken steps toward filing a lawsuit. On Wednesday they filed an emergency motion in Cook County Circuit Court asking a judge to ensure the airline and city preserve surveillance video showing passengers boarding Flight 3411 to Louisville.

They’re also seeking cockpit voice recordings, incident reports and other materials.

Video of the Kentucky physician being pulled from his seat after he refused to leave the full plane has been viewed by people around the world.

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12:15 a.m.

The video of a man being dragged off a United Express flight shined an unwanted spotlight on the police force that guards Chicago’s two main airports and could threaten the agency’s future.

Alderman Chris Taliaferro says the cellphone footage has put the airport police at risk. He and other members of the city council were scheduled to grill United and the Chicago Aviation Department on Thursday about why a Kentucky physician was yanked out of his seat after he refused to get off the full jetliner at O’Hare Airport.

At the top of their list of questions is whether the airport officers had the authority to board the plane. The officers aren’t part of the city’s regular police force, get less training and can’t carry firearms inside the airport grounds.

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