Lawyers are also drooling over the fact that the UA gate agents tried to invoke an oversold situation which didn't exist, didn't execute it properly, and were actually trying to accommodate deadheading crew.
The Chicago Department of Aviation (not the Chicago Police Department) may or may not have been misinformed about the nature of the passenger situation. They became the airline's stormtroopers (a word which I do not use lightly) - impossible to refuse, impossible to resist, and willing to employ brute force.
I don't see this ending well for a lot of people. At the end of the day, changes will be made. A few will profit, a few will hopefully be penalized in some manner, most won't, and there will be unintended consequences.
A few unintended consequences that I see - If overbooking diminishes then fares will rise accordingly. If rules involving deadheading crew changes then that may have an impact on where crew live - for example, I know a Flight Attendant who lives in Florida, but who works out of the Charlotte crew base - not uncommon.
The story, and the resulting impact, will continue to modify over the coming month(s).