Sunday, September 30, 2007

Handcuffed Woman Killed in Holding Cell; Police cover-up begins

Associated Press

NEW YORK (Sept. 30) - The daughter-in-law of the city's public advocate was found dead in a police holding cell in Arizona, where she had been taken in handcuffs after being arrested at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, authorities and relatives said.

"We are extraordinarily upset," said Betsy Gotbaum, the city's public advocate, in Sunday editions of the Daily News. She added that her daughter-in-law had three young children. "It's a very delicate matter."

Authorities were investigating if Carol Anne Gotbaum choked herself while trying to get free from the handcuffs.

The 45-year-old New Yorker was arrested Friday after a conflict with gate crews who refused to allow her to board a plane, said Sgt. Andy Hill, a Phoenix police spokesman.

The airline said the plane was already preparing to depart. She was rebooked on the next flight, but "she became extremely irate, apparently running up and down the gate area," US Airways spokesman Derek Hanna said Saturday.

Officers handcuffed her and took her to the holding room, where she kept screaming, authorities said. Hill said officers checked on her when she stopped screaming and found her unresponsive.

Hill said it appears Gotbaum may have tried to get out of her handcuffs, became tangled in the process and the cuffs ended up around her neck. A cause of death will be determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.

"She was very agitated and irate and angry," Hill said. "These are the things that led to the disorderly conduct arrest."

Authorities said neither a Taser nor pepper spray was used on the woman.

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