Chicago aldermen unveil proposals to change aviation police after United dragging case

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-20 06:48:07|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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CHICAGO, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Chicago aldermen floated proposals Wednesday to avoid another airport fiasco like the one in which Chicago Department of Aviation security officers dragged a United Airlines passenger off an over-booked flight on April 9.

Alderman Raymond Lopez of 15th Ward, who worked at Southwest Airlines for 15 years, introduced an order requesting the consolidation of the Department of Aviation's security force into the Chicago Police Department.

Lopez said aviation police have the authority to detain people, but only Chicago police officers have the authority make an arrest. He also proposed to ban city workers from getting on planes unless a crime has been committed or there's a medical emergency.

"As we look at how to better integrate the safety of our airports, again having that single legal authority to act in these situations, I think our liability in the United incident may have been less," Lopez said.

Lopez said the change, which he would like to see happen within 60 days, would allow police at the airports to be armed with guns - something Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected this week when he said "it's pretty clear that's wrong."

This proposal was immediately dismissed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office. Emanuel spokesman Matthew McGrath said the problem on the plane "was a lack of judgment, not the lack of a weapon, and this wouldn't solve that problem."

The proposals come after a hearing last week on the April 9 dragging incident that brought United and city government negative attention from around the world. The video went viral, showing an aviation officer dragging bloodied passenger David Dao from the plane to make room for an airline employee heading to a work assignment.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz on Tuesday said no airline employees involved in the incident will be fired. He said United is conducting its own investigation that will conclude by the end of the month.