Yesterday, I covered the bloody brawl that took place between a United Airlines baggage assistant and a passenger at Newark Liberty International Airport. New details have emerged that are worth considering.
New Details Emerge About United Airlines Newark Brawl
1. The incident occurred on May 19, 2022
It wasn’t clear, based upon the video, when this incident occurred. It took place on Thursday, May 19, 2022.
2. The passenger was former NFL player Brendan Langley
Brendan Langley, 27, formerly played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos. He currently is a wide receiver in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Calgary Stampeders.
3. The conflict was over the use of a wheelchair to transport luggage
We now know what triggered the incident. The agent and passenger got into a fight over the use of a wheelchair to transport luggage.
A friend of Langley said United “instructed” him to use a wheelchair:
United instructed him to use a wheelchair to carry his luggage because they were out of their normal dollys . The employee that got beat up chased him down saying he couldn’t use it and then tried to physically remove it from Brendan’s hands which led to the fight.
— Su’a (@iammsuzy) May 23, 2022
I doubt it. I strongly doubt it.
Wheelchairs are for disabled passengers, not to transport luggage. Even so, the United employee did not need to start yelling and physically chasing after Langley over the inappropriate use of the wheelchair.
4. The United employee has been fired
United released a statement yesterday condemning violence and noting that the employee had been terminated (precisely as I suggested). He still has not been identified, though.
United Airlines does not tolerate violence of any kind at our airports or on board our planes and we are working with local authorities in their investigation of this matter. United Ground Express informed us that the employee has been terminated.
United Ground Express is a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Airlines.
5. Langley was arrested and charged with assault
Law enforcement were called and Langley was arrested and charged with assault. It isn’t clear why he was the only one arrested if the United employee began the incident.
6. Langley plans to sue United Airlines
Langley is lawyering up, with plans to sue United Airlines for assault and TMZ for defamation.
Anyone have any solid legal counsel? My boy @trllang looking to sue @united for assault by an employee, @EWRairport for illegally arresting him without mirandizing him and holding him against his will, as well as @TMZ for defamation and slander! SMH https://t.co/JUeFXby3yO
— Su’a (@iammsuzy) May 23, 2022
He should not waste his time with TMZ.
Why did no other United employees step in?
When you ask why no other United employees interceded to try to break up the fight, you come to two possible conclusions, as far as I can see. One, they were too afraid and that reflects poorly on them. Two, they saw their colleague had “picked” the fight and had no desire to even get scratched upon his behalf.
United has handled this well so far.
When it came to David Dao, the problem was less the incident itself and more United’s response to it. United blamed the passenger and refused to take responsibility for its contract staff. Here, United has forcefully condemned violence and the employee has been promptly terminated.
I don’t think any fact can come out to paint the employee in a good light when he chose to escalate the problem rather than de-escalate. As a result, I think United made the right move in terminating him.
Cowards fight back when there are better solutions.
Ok, this is a controversial one, I know, but hear me out. I’m not a pacifist. I believe in self-defense and am a strong proponent of the castle doctrine (you can repel any invader into your home, even with lethal force). But this was not self-defense. Watch the video. Even if we don’t have the entire sequence, we can see that the employee was not in any danger and could have easily walked away and summoned law enforcement. Instead, he chose to get in the face of Langley and fight back. That’s weakness (pride), not strength.
There are still unanswered questions. Who was the United employee? Was it words or was it simply the use of the wheelchair that triggered the action? But we now know a lot more than we did yesterday and I cannot say the emerging facts put either man in a better light.