Footage has emerged of the moments immediately before the now-infamous forceful removal of a passenger from an overbooked United flight.

The video, captured by a passenger seated behind Dr David Dao, shows police officers asking the physician to vacate his seat in order to accommodate United staff.

Dao can be heard saying “I won’t go. I’m [a] physician, have to work tomorrow.” He claimed that if the officers used force to get him off the plane, he would “make a lawsuit against United airlines.”

When officers asked him to leave once again, Dao again refused, saying “you can drag me.” 


The contents of the video contradict a statement put out by United CEO Oscar Munoz, who claimed Dao was “disruptive and belligerent” before officers intervened. 

Joya Griffin Cummings, the woman who took the video, has also spoken about the incident. In a Facebook post, she wrote “this passenger was no more “irate or belligerent” than any weary passenger after a long day of travel would be.

“He just wanted to go home, had to work the next day and did not feel it was right to have to give up his seat, a seat he was already sitting in upon the plane.”

Cummings wrote “the media is now performing a character assassination in attempts to excuse the airline’s treatment of this individual,” and “it is disappointing and disgusting to me that our society is so depraved that big business and organizations have no care for individual rights and treat people this way.”

Her post accompanied proof that a United representative had reached out to her regarding a refund for her flight – a concession which was granted to all passengers aboard. 

Dao’s family is currently launching legal action against the airline.