INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Todd Rokita sided with United Airlines and seemed to blame a passenger who was brutally beaten during his forced removal last month from a United flight for not following directions during a hearing today on the incident.
The House Transportation Committee today convened a hearing on “Oversight of U.S. Airline Customer Service, in the wake of last month’s incident. After overselling a flight out of Chicago, United called on police to forcibly eject a man, Dr. David Dao, from their flight. Captured on video, the police inflicted serious harm on Dr. Dao as they dragged him off the plane, including breaking his nose and concussing him. The airline later apologized and reached a settlement with the man.
As he spoke towards the end of the hearing today, however, Congressman Rokita clearly sided with United in the incident and seemed to blame Dr. Dao for his injuries because he failed to heed requests that he give up his seat, saying:
“I also wanted to say that this is a bit of a two-way street… A grown man, assumedly sane, when approached by law enforcement, on an aircraft, should abide by the requests being made. And I don’t know that that, Mr. Chairman, has been said in this hearing or generally in the conversation. So I wanted to make a record of that, because it deserves to be said.”
“Even after United took ‘full responsibility’ for the beating of a paying customer, Congressman Rokita has chosen to take a stand against decency and shift blame to the victim for being beaten,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “In his haste to side against American consumers, Congressman Rokita will overlook anything, even violence caught on tape. Hoosiers deserve better.”