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Chicago ordinance aimed at protecting airline passenger rights

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CHICAGO --   A new ordinance could ban all city employees, including aviation police, from boarding an airplane, unless in a criminal matter or medical emergency.

The proposed changes come after a passenger was violently dragged off a United Airlines flight last month.

The viral video shows police with the Department of Aviation dragging Dr. David Dao off a United Express flight, because he refused to give up his seat for an airline employee. The flight to Louisville, Ky., was overbooked, so aviation police were called to remove Dao.

The three aviation officers involved and a supervisor have been suspended pending an investigation. Aviation officers are city employees, and although they’re trained at the Chicago Police Academy, they are not members of the Chicago Police Department. They do not carry guns.

In the hearing, Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans talked about changing the role of airport police completely by removing the word “police” from their uniforms or downgrading their jobs to be more like a security officer.

The addition to the municipal code was approved in committee and will go before the full City Council on Wednesday, where it’s expected to pass.

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