United Doubles Down, Continues to Defend Removal of "Belligerent" Passenger

"While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right," CEO Oscar Munoz tells employees.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz contends his employees did nothing wrong when a passenger was forcibly removed from a Chicago plane on Sunday. 

In a letter sent to staff Monday, obtained by multiple news outlets, Munoz said the officially unidentified passenger became "disruptive and belligerent" after he was asked to leave the overbooked flight, but refused. 

Video of the man being forcibly removed and bloodied in the process went viral, prompting an enormous social media backlash against the airline, including from Hollywood.  

While Munoz offered a public apology for the situation, in the letter, he said the employees did what was expected of them. 

"This situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help," the Munoz letter reads. "While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right."

However, the security officer who dragged the passenger off the plane has since been put on leave, Chicago authorities announced Monday. 

“The incident on United Flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department," aviation authorities said in a statement.

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