Ok, fine: convicted. Still not relevant to what happened. As for your point about it happening in the gate area, I agree with you that it would never have escalated to violence because he would never have made it on the plane. He would have been Emmert-out-of-luck with no options and no recourse. And, that, at least in my opinion, is the problem. Why are the airlines able to get away with overbooking like this? Why are they not only given exemptions from actions that would be fraud for anyone else, but also protected from the financial impacts of their decisions?
Forgot this doctor - say it's you and you've booked a cruise out of Florida and you have it set up so your flight lands in the morning, and you go directly to the cruise ship in plenty of time. But, you get to the airport, they overbooked your flight, no one will give up their seat, and a Hunger Games type of lottery ensues and you lose. You're not going to make your flight. What happens if they can't get you down in time to make your cruise? I'll tell you what - you eat all the money on that cruise because Congress decided that the airlines off the hook for a financial misfortune that they caused and you didn't.
But, guess what - it's your lucky day! The airline actually does have a seat for you. In first class. They are happy to let you buy a first class upgrade to you can be sure to make your cruise down in Florida. And, for only the low, low price of another $700. Isn't that wonderful of them? For any other industry, this is called "bait-and-switch" and the company can be liable for consumer fraud and treble damages. But, for the airlines this is called "just another Tuesday" and they do this all day long, every single day.
And, when some people have had enough and saw "no" they get to call the police who have those people handcuffed, or dragged out of the area and arrested. And, it's not like you can just get pissed off and take your business elsewhere because there are only 3 major airlines in this country, they are regionalized and the airports are dominated by one and only one major carrier, and the smaller airlines nip at their heals and can't offer services and flight times that work for many people so you often have no options. And, all of that is because this is hos Congress has designed it.
How are you possibly ok with that?
As a side note, if Trump steps in and fixes this fiasco of an industry, or at least makes them legally accountable to their paying customers so we all have a fighting chance with them, he will go a long, long way to winning me over. I loathe the airlines.