Don't have an account yet? Get the most out of your experience with a personalized all-access pass to everything local on events, music, restaurants, news and more. Here's the update on the police report I promised, along with some new photos released by the Gotbaum family. Certainly they had a beautiful family. I read through the entire police report on Carol Gotbaum's arrest and death last night.
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Michael Manning, an attorney for the family of Carol Anne Gotbaum, told ABC News that Gotbaum's family had not decided whether to sue the Phoenix Police Department over the incident, but that they were "mightily disturbed by the preliminary reports of how this woman was treated. Carol Anne Gotbaum was arrested Friday after witnesses said she was screaming and running through the Sky Harbor International Airport terminal after missing a flight.
Her family said she was on her way to an alcohol treatment facility. She was taken to a holding cell with her hands cuffed behind her back, and shackled to a bench, said Phoenix Police Sgt. Andy Hill. Minutes later, she was found unconscious with the handcuffs in front of her, "pressed up against her neck area," Hill said.
Emergency workers were unable to revive her. The reason for her death is still unknown and an autopsy was underway Tuesday afternoon. Manning said an investigator from his office would attend the autopsy and that an independent pathologist hired by Gotbaum's family would conduct a second autopsy later today. Gotbaum was handcuffed behind her back and those handcuffs were attached to a bench with a 16 inch chain shackle, Hill said. When she was found, her hands were in front of her and the chain shackle was pressed up against her neck, he said.
Hill said Monday it was possible that Gotbaum may have accidentally strangled herself while trying to escape from the handcuffs.
He did not immediately return a phone call on Tuesday. But former law enforcement officers and police tactics trainers said it would be unusual for that to happen.
Roy Bedard, a former police officer who now trains officers in defense tactics, including how to use handcuffs and other restraints, said it would be possible, though unusual, for a person to choke on a long chain or rope either accidentally or on purpose. David Bellamy, who is also a part-time police officer in Florida.
Gotbaum, who weighed pounds, was on her way to an alcohol rehabilitation facility when she missed her plane, her stepmother-in-law Betsy Gotbaum said Monday.
She said that it appeared that her step-daughter-in-law had been "manhandled" by the Phoenix police. Manning said the police had denied his request to visit and photograph the holding cell and that he had asked the police department for its policies on the treatment of emotionally disturbed citizens.
He faulted the police for leaving Gotbaum alone for a few minutes. Police policy requires officers to check on suspects in holding cells every 15 minutes, Hill said. Officers checked on Gotbaum after five or 10 minutes, he said. Though the cause of her death remained a mystery, Hill said, "It appeared as though Ms. Gotbaum had possibly tried to manipulate the handcuffs from behind her to the front, got tangled up in the process, and they ended up around her neck area.
But most people whose hands are restrained behind their backs try to slip their hands underneath their legs, said Garrett. It is possible for people who are double jointed to move their arms above their heads, but even then, Bedard said, their arms would usually be extended and not near their necks.
Hill said he had heard of people moving arms from back to front around their head if "extremely agitated. Airport witnesses told police Friday that Gotbaum was "very loud … yelling and screaming and running around the concourse area," Hill said. An unidentified airport worker who witnessed the arrest told the New York Daily News that Gotbaum was screaming, "I'm not a terrorist!
I'm a sick mom! I need help! The police did not use pepper spray or a Taser, Hill said. She kept screaming. She kept kicking. She looked really scared, really frightened. I think she was afraid to go to jail. Gotbaum's father-in-law, Victor Gotbaum, told the Associated Press it was totally out of character for her to be screaming and running around an airport terminal as police said she did.
Hill said Gotbaum continued screaming when she was put into the cell. He said police checked on Gotbaum after five or 10 minutes when she stopped screaming. They found her unconscious and not breathing. Shows Good Morning America. World News Tonight. This Week.
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She was arrested after becoming angry while attempting to board her plane to enter an alcohol treatment center in Tucson, Arizona. Gotbaum was unable to board her flight, as it had been overbooked. After being denied passage on a later flight, Gotbaum became irate; reviews of publicly available closed-circuit security tapes shows her lurching about and flailing, as well as hurling a PDA device at a U. Airways employee. Several passengers subsequently claimed they attempted to switch seats so she could make her flight, but were dissuaded by employees of the airline, U. Airways but there is no information available to verify this. Soon after the assault with the PDA, security officers were called and Gotbaum was arrested.
Autopsy Finds That Death of Gotbaum Was Accident
Andy Hill, a spokesman for the Phoenix police. The authorities released a statement Friday night saying that they reviewed all phone calls received by the airport after 12 noon on Sept. This confirms as well that Mrs. Gotbaum was dead before that first call.
A Husband’s Efforts Came Too Late
Carol A. Gotbaum, who died in a police holding cell at a Phoenix airport in September, was accidentally strangled, according to an autopsy released yesterday, which also said intoxication from alcohol and prescription medication played a role in her death. The autopsy found her blood alcohol level to be 0. The death of Ms. Gotbaum, 45, the stepdaughter-in-law of Betsy Gotbaum, the New York City public advocate, had drawn national attention, in part because of questions of how she was handled by the Phoenix police. The spokesman, Sgt.