Shadowproof

Homeland insecurity: passenger dies in police custody in Phoenix airport

The facts aren't all in yet, but at the very least, there's a lot of explaining to do regarding the death of Carol Anne Gotbaum, 45, the daughter-in-law of a NYC official. She died in a holding cell in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, after being detained for irate behavior. (NYDN):

“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.

…Gotbaum's husband, Noah, is the son of longtime city labor leader Victor Gotbaum and the stepson of his wife, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, a possible candidate for mayor in 2009.

The police are suggesting that Gotbaum accidentally choked herself to death, even though she was handcuffed behind her back.

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 longest she was alone was five or 10 minutes,” Hill said. She was handcuffed behind her back, Hill said.

But he couldn't immediately explain why a distressed woman was left alone in handcuffs while seven police officers were in the security office.

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