The man dragged from a full United Express flight by airport police in Chicago is a Kentucky physician who was convicted more than a decade ago of felony charges involving his prescribing of drugs.
But while the passenger’s unflattering history quickly became the focus of attention, there’s no indication that his past influenced how he was treated or that the airline or police were aware of his background.
A person with knowledge of the Sunday evening flight who was not authorised to publicly release the information said the passenger was David Dao, 69, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Screaming can be heard on the videos that were uploaded to social media, but nowhere is Dao seen attacking the officers.
He appears relatively passive both when he was dragged down the aisle of the jet and when he is seen standing in the aisle later saying quietly, “I want to go home, I want to go home.”
The chief executive of the airline’s parent company initially released a statement saying that United wanted to talk to the man. But Oscar Munoz later began defending his employees, describing the passenger as “disruptive and belligerent.”