Monday, October 1, 2007

Woman dies while in airport custody

If you can, just stay away from airports.

In a distressing new example of the ridiculousness of so-called “airport security,” a 45-year old woman has died at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after being arrested and placed in handcuffs.

From the New York Daily News:

Carol Anne Gotbaum, 45, of the upper West Side, died less than an hour later, after cops claim she apparently strangled herself while trying to escape from the handcuffs in a holding cell at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“I'm not a terrorist! I'm a sick mom! I need help!” yelled the mother of three after she missed the 2:58 p.m. US Airways Express flight to Tucson, said airport workers who witnessed the confrontation Friday.

They said one cop put his knee in her back to restrain her while others grabbed her flailing arms.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said Gotbaum kept screaming after she was placed in the holding cell, until cops realized she had been silent for several minutes and found her unresponsive. The county medical examiner has not determined a cause of death.

The money quote:
But [Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill] couldn't immediately explain why a distressed woman was left alone in handcuffs while seven police officers were in the security office.


Anonymous said...

This wreaks of homicide due to police being trained to kill us and practicing the right and power to do so!!! I'm so sick her hearing of this stuff happening to people AFTER they are in custody. How the F does one strangle themselves with handcuffs?? If there is some "contortion" issue..her arms would've been broken going upwards from backwards before they could get up and around her neck..Generally if you want to get out of try to pull them OUT of the cuff OR would try to get them to the front first by getting them under your legs toward the front. No one would try this method. Wouldn't be surprised if she was strung up high BY HER HANDS until her shoulders broke.
Wouldn't be surprised if she was cruelly provoked by the usual attitude that we have all seen by so-called "gestapo" security and airline staff who have been trained in gestapo mentality. This is why I don't fly anymore. Had my own Nazi experience/observation in Denver airport.

PookyShoehorn said...

I hope to be able to find out more of the facts about this incident. My personal sense at this point is that she died out of neglect, rather than intentional force

So far, it seems as though she was a very distressed person, probably someone with mental illness, and she may have tried to do something impossible like bring her arms over head -- just out of sheer terror and panic.

The police have said she was "thrashing about" and making noise in the holding cell. If that was the case, she was certainly not someone who should have been left alone, unmonitored. Someone should have been watching over her to make sure she didn't harm herself, as clearly she was capable of doing.

I believe this poor woman died as a result of severe neglect by the police, and I think there will be lawsuits brought by her family.

She leaves behind a husband and three children.

PookyShoehorn said...

There's more on this story, including statements from the victims family at the New York Times online

I don't think this is last we'll hear about this case.