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Rainbow PUSH Coalition Demands Answers in case of Elderly Airline Passenger Reportedly Bound and Gagged on International Flight

January 30, 2018



Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Rainbow PUSH Coalition Demands Answers in case of Elderly Airline Passenger Reportedly Bound and Gagged on International Flight


CHICAGO – The allegations are chilling and inhumane.


A slightly built, 74-year-old passenger on a flight from Dubai to Chicago was reportedly roughed up by an Emirates Airline cabin crew last week. He was allegedly bound and gagged for eight hours without food or water.


The airline says the passenger, a first-time flyer from Nigeria named David Ukesone, was “unruly” but no complaint or charges were filed against him when the flight landed at O’Hare International Airport on Jan. 23.


Instead of arresting Mr. Ukesone, Chicago police rushed him to a hospital where he spent four days, his wrists and ankles rubbed raw and bloody from the restraints.


For hours, his anxious family had no idea where he was.


The Rainbow PUSH Coalition stands with the family of Mr. Ukesone in demanding immediate answers.


A week has gone by and the airline still refuses to provide any details of the alleged “unruly” behavior or a plausible explanation for the brutal treatment of the elderly man, who was traveling to Chicago to reunite and live with his family.


Mr. Ukesone’s family says he got up to use the restroom during the long flight and, brand new to flying, mistakenly returned to a wrong seat. He thought he was in his proper seat and said so. Things quickly escalated from there as the crew, according to the family’s attorney, “descended” on Mr. Ukesone. One of the crew reportedly punched him before he was bound and gagged.


Why the crew felt compelled to react so harshly is unclear. What is clear is that Mr. Ukesone’s experience was unacceptable and decidedly unfriendly. We must all work together – passengers and crew – to reduce tension and conflict in the skies.




Chinta Strausberg


Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justicearound the world.


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