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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence Calls For A Hearing On The United Airlines Passenger Removal Incident

April 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence was joined by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, the top democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, in sending a letter to Chairman Jason Chaffetz, calling for an immediate hearing on the forcible removal of a passenger on April 9, 2017.

“On April 9, 2017, four seated passengers aboard the overbooked United Express Flight 3411 were asked to get off the flight to accommodate crewmembers. Three of the four passengers left, while one passenger, a doctor who stated he had patients to care for, refused and was dragged off the flight by security.

“As a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR), I am passionate about investigating and preventing the misuse of power, authority and resources that could negatively affect the safety of the American public. This is why I have sent a letter to OGR Chairman Chaffetz requesting a hearing to further investigate the incidents that led to the forcible removal of a passenger which left him with a concussion, broken nose and loss of two teeth.

“When Americans purchase a plane ticket, they have a right to expect that they will not be dragged off an airplane and left bruised and bloodied if they decline a request to give up their seat,” said Rep. Cummings.  “I am proud to join Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence’s request that the Oversight Committee hold a hearing to enable us to get to the bottom of what happened on United, and to understand how the airline industry treats passengers whom they have selected to be involuntarily bumped from flights.”

“This incident drew public outrage and there are still many questions left unanswered. I have called for a hearing to include testimony of representatives from the Chicago Department of Aviation, United Airlines, and the Department of Transportation before our committee. We must work to safeguard consumer protections for airline customers and prevent unnecessary force from being used in the future.”