"Death by Handling"

A medical examiner has ruled the death of a loving Mother, Carol Anne Gotbaum, while under the authority of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport was "Asphyxia by Hanging." It could have more correctly read "Asphyxia by Handling."

Family photo of 45-year old loving mother of three, treated by the police as if a terrorist.  Gee, more training needed?  You bet!
Released family photo

The 45-year old mother, who had been openly characterized by everyone at the airport as hysterical when missing a connection, died while under the supervision of the police force that had been authorized to represent Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. It was reported the examiner ruled Ms. Gotbaum was intoxicated by alcohol and prescription pills, and that she accidentally strangled herself. However, he left out a few words seeming to be politically correct, Ms. Gotbaum able to accidentally strangle herself on a chain while under the lack of monitoring by the Sky Harbor police. She was left out of eye sight, allowing her to injure herself while in an obvious questionable mental state.

This mother died because she was not being watched 24/7 by those held with the responsibility for her safety, police officers filled with their own authority deciding to simply stand nearby out of visual range of a person they knew was not acting normal. Ms. Gotbaum could have also become sick and died by asphyxia from her own vomit, forget the chains.

According to the Daily News, Carol Gotbaum even had yelled to the police, who didn't seem interested in her plea if you watch the video, "I'm not a terrorist. I'm a sick mom. I need help," after she had missed an afternoon U.S. Airways flight to Tucson. It would seem putting this woman into a wheel chair and calming her down would have been the first order of business, instead of treating her as if the airport authorities had just discovered Osama bin Laden, causing a major distraction in the terminal.

Yet knowing she was hysterical, the police, who were obviously not well trained in handling a helpless women as seen in the video, then went onto leave her in cold and skin-cutting handcuffs surrounded by chains as if she had just shot JFK. Why is no one at the state and especially the federal level asking why Ms. Gotbaum was not put into an area where she would have been prevented from endangering her own life, the police knowing full well she was not at all dangerous to other people or herself . . . that was until they stuck her in cuffs and chains in a cell unwatched.

Watch police's explanation why they refused to watch Ms. Gotbaum 100% of the time while in cuffs and chains.
Last photo of Ms. Gotbaum seen alive

Watch Video of arrest of Ms. Gotbaum who had no firearms, weapons, or explosive materials on her person.

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The officers directly involved in the handling of this event at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport had obvious questionable training or this woman would still be alive tonight to be held in the arms of her loving family. Instead in its place is anger and mistrust in a system that was supposed to be designed to protect us from the bad guys. But in the case of questionable authority as shown at Sky Harbor Airport, we are taught there is usually a fish nearby that stinks from the head. Not bad thinking for a national airport security these days that seems to be more in the business of harassing everyday Americans then in protecting them . . . not one terrorist in sight for how many years?

So was it questionable training or second degree murder? And what about those in command responsible for the how these officers were trained to react with a non-terrorist, a passenger dying in their care? And why are these executives not suspended with pay until the law suit runs its course to assist in discovering the flaw in the system, one that had allowed an innocent woman to lose her life while under the safety of the roof of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport?

There has been a serious loss of the civil liberties of an American citizen. Why is it now been treated as if her death was just so much acceptable collateral damage?

We all know people who at one time or another have found themselves within a weak emotional moment. Hopefully if that happens to you, you'll not be standing in the middle of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, Ms. Gotbaum finding herself there and then obviously denied the very best Sky Harbor could have offered her.

Released family photo

To leave this mother in a position with metal all around her where she could have harmed herself was totally unacceptable. We all know when criminals are placed in prison cells and seen as suicidal, any items that could be used to take their life are quickly removed. The fact Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport seems to be trying to place their errors upon a woman who was already at risk for not making the best of decisions, makes us realize that others could be at risk at this facility. Major changes in the airport's attitude need to be made when they find themselves responsible for holding an American, one who is temporarily mentally unstable while holding no firearms, weapons, or explosives on their person.

Sister-in-law, New York City's Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, deals with Carol Gotbaum's death while in the care of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport police.

We can understand why the family wants to sue this government agency that had Ms. Gotbaum well being under their control, an innocent woman who had no intention of endangering any lives at Sky Harbor or any other airport. The fact the media, other than a few in New York City, is not asking questions as to why a woman would have been left alone by police in her mental state is beyond me. If this had been the Marines or Army under the leadership of president Bush, there would be hell to pay from coast to coast by this same mainstream media.

As a former trainer for a season of TSA baggage screeners at LAX and Newark's Liberty airport, I can tell you the arrogance and egos found in some individuals in an airport environment can be very disturbing. Instead of acting like servants for the people's good, they can act as if they are above reproach. In an environment like this, it's easy to understand how an innocent woman could be seen as insignificant and annoying when entering into their personal kingdoms.

Finally, after watching the video of Ms. Gotbaum's arrest, we believe the police might have made a major mistake in allowing too much attention to be drawn to them and the arrest, an event that could have instead been designed as a diversion by actual terrorists ready to do major damage. Like we said, to have taken this women aside quietly and then placed her in a wheel chair to calm the situation down would have been better for everyone, allowing others in the police force to keep their eye out for the REAL thing.

Doing that would have negated this whole story, with no journalist then interested in writing about an everyday woman who had made her way to find the help she had been seeking in a place called Tucson.


Read more on the medical examiner's finding.




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