US Airways Passenger Dies In Holding Cell After Airport Arrest

A US Airways passenger who was late for her flight and denied boarding by the gate crew became agitated and caused enough of a stir that she was arrested, according to USAToday.

The woman was placed in handcuffs and taken to a holding cell where she was found dead sometime later. It’s suspected that she may have been trying to escape the handcuffs and accidentally choked herself to death, but the exact cause of death is unknown.

From USA Today:

Carol Ann Gotbaum, 45, of New York, was arrested Friday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 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.

Woman dies after airport arrest [USAToday]


Edit Your Comment

  1. C2D says:

    If true, shame on her, not the security people. There was something else much bigger going on with her then just missing that flight.

    Not that she deserved to die, but she did to be detained until she calmed down.

  2. cde says:

    How in the hell can handcuffs get stuck around your neck when you have them on?!?! I smell coverup.

  3. kimdog says:

    NYCers might find it interesting that she is the daughter-in-law of Betsy Gotbaum, the NYC Public Advocate.

  4. cryrevolution says:

    Wow how awful.

  5. ChewySquirrel says:

    So she caused a scene was handcuffed and detained and then strangled herself? These events seem to be mostly her fault, but I see a lawsuit from the family in the near future as that is pretty much how this country works.

  6. Cyco says:

    If that’s the case, she probably thought she as too important to be inconvenienced by having to wait for a later flight.

  7. ancientsociety says:

    To anyone saying this is the victim’s fault:

    Please tell me how someone strangles themself with their hands bound BEHIND them?

  8. Dreadful story, but what was going on with the freakout even after she was rebooked? At least she wasn’t stranded.

  9. Buran says:

    @ancientsociety: I wonder the same. Did they put her hands in front instead?

  10. louisb3 says:

    I guess you can blame the victim even if they’re mentally ill and dead.

  11. alhypo says:

    Too many details were left out of this article to make any conclusions at this point. I would say we should wait for further information like the particular style of cuffs used, the manner in which she was cuffed, and, probably most importantly, the medical examiner’s report. Hell, for all we know, she was on some vital medication for a condition that was exacerbated by her agitation.

  12. InThrees says:

    Handcuffed with hands in front or behind, I still can’t see how someone can contort such that the wrists and handcuffs actually go “around the neck” such that they choke themselves.

    I think there is something being miscommunicated here. I don’t mean to imply that she was choked and then left in the cell and “oops” found dead later, but maybe something like… the cuffs were in back and she tried ‘stepping through’ the cuffs to get her hands in front, but got bound up and then compressed her rib cage or something, so she couldn’t breathe.

    I want to see a follow up, though. I’ve never heard of someone handcuffed strangling themelves with the cuffs before.

  13. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Wow….she ran up and down the gate area…big whoop. Maybe we should detain babies too.

  14. Motor_Head says:

    Maricopa County, huh? That’s where that crazy sheriff has those tent city jails, and a few bad apple cops are always screwing things up. Google maricopa sheriff mistake.

    I smell a coverup. This article reads like a press release from the cops that negligently let her die. ‘Prolly Maricopa’s “Communications Posse”. I kid you not, that is the name of the Sheriff’s communication organization.

    Crooked, backwards, keystone cops.

    I’m with IRISTHEROOTOFALLEVIL. Heaven forbid someone should run in an airport.

  15. ecwis says:

    We don’t have enough information to blame this on the passenger.

    It seems like this woman had some issues, possibly mentally ill and shouldn’t have been left in a “holding room” unsupervised. And they left her unsupervised even though she was continuing to be irate. If she committed a crime, she should have been taken somewhere where she could at least be supervised.

    Sounds like a wrongful death case to me.

  16. pshah says:

    @IRSistherootofallevil: DITTO. I think someone took their “job” of keeping the inmates (read passengers) in line too seriously and someone died… if “running up and down” was the best they could come up with after the fact she died then there must be more to this.

  17. synergy says:

    I really can’t imagine how a handcuffed woman could end up strangling herself with the handcuffs. This is really really odd.

  18. 5h17h34d says:

    Another TSA Screwup? This time it cost someone their life.

  19. OKH says:

    Pointing out that someone was a willing actor in their own demise isn’t “blaming the victim”. It’s “stating the facts.”

  20. OKH says:

    @5h17h34d: Not a TSA screw-up. A someone who felt they were entitled to have the entire world stop for them running around and screaming like a lunatic screwup.

  21. SeattleGuy says:

    Has anyone here traveled recently?

    I had Delta ticket agents making me want to scream after having them make me miss my flight to Rome recently. Their incompetence caused me to miss my subsequent connection to the island of Sardinia, force me to get a hotel room for the night and then pay a premium to rebook my tickets to Sardinia.

    Until we can get a Travelers Bill of Rights passed as a law, these kinds of frustration reactions are going to occur.

  22. Ben Popken says:

    Reminds me of that guy who got hurt in prison after he accidentally sat on a plunger.

  23. XivGNP says:

    For what it’s worth, people that are detained in a holding room at an airport are usually dealing with the airport police, not the TSA (at least at MSP Airport). And, I could think of one way she could’ve choked herself with the cuffs behind, but i seriously doubt she’d dislocate her shoulder for it.

  24. Falconfire says:

    there is no freaking way you can choke yourself while handcuffed front OR back without either

    1) force-ably choking yourself if the handcuffs are on the front, basically committing suicide or

    2) physically dislocating your ARM, something so painful I dont want to even think about it.

    This is a cover-up plain and simple.

  25. comedian says:

    Most police departments’ procedures do not allow prisoners to be left unattended while handcuffed.

    It is a known and serious risk that handcuffed persons have a diminished ability to provide for their own safety, and are at risk both of hurting themselves and of potentially suffering from positional asphyxiation.

    There may be more to this then we’ve heard so far, but we’ve already heard more than many might realize.

  26. Parting says:

    What kind od security is it?

    A handcuffed person should NEVER be left out of sight! That is simply dangerous for a lot of reasons : medical, safety, etc.

    How incompetent security is in airports?
    And they protect public from terrorists? By gross negligence?

    Even in small Canadian airports, the policy is TWO officers have to keep an eye on a handcuffed person. Imagine if the the passenger has a panic attack, or a heart attack?

    I smell a lawsuit $$$, and someone will be definitely fired in the process.

  27. Lvhakra says:

    As a Phoenix resident I’m not surprised it happened at Sky Harbor or that the Maricopa boys could be behind it. Come on, what type of cops do you expect when they have recruitment bumper stickers telling the city how desperate they are for staff?

    I agree with the previous posters the cops and the airport should be taken down a notch for their incompetence. Unfortunately, our screwed up system will likely reward those in charge for taking care of a “dangerous” passenger.

  28. Zanpakuto says:

    This is a very strange set of circumstances, I would not say she simply strangled herself with handcuffs on by accident as the article and I guess the police dept implied (after all who is providing the “facts” to the news right? the cops of course)

    Anyhow, I think it’s probably more likely that she may have been trying to get out of the handcuffs and may have pulled something on her clothing, e.g. scarf or something that strangled her.

    In this event it is clearly the police’s fault because they are trained to remove any objects on someone who is going into a holding cell that could be used as either a weapon or something kill oneself with like belts, shoelaces, scarves, etc… About the only thing you can go into a holding cell with is shirt, pants, socks and underwear. So if something like that occurred then it’s the cops’ fault for not following proper procedures/policies.

    On the other hand, possibly she worked herself up into some sort of frenzy that caused some type of shock? Kind of like the bee allergy thing but not necessarily an allergy? This woman does seem to be a bit deranged to cause herself to get arrested afterall.

    A very bizarre set of circumstances, and yeah I can see a lawsuit vs the airline, the cops, the airport and more or less anyone else that was remotely involved.

    What a mess.

  29. chili_dog says:

    Crazy sheriff??? Not Joe “The biggest media whore in America” Arpaio. All I can say is if in Maricopa go ahead and kill a person it’s not a big deal, but god forbid you kill a dog.

  30. dokieartiechokie says:

    Sounds like a wrongful death lawsuit is in the cards for that idiot Maricopa county Sheriffs’ dept… I’m sure this woman was disturbed and problematic, but come on!

  31. OKH says:

    @Zanpakuto: And CLEARLY none of the woman’s fault for a) getting herself in cuffs and b)trying to get out of said cuffs. Poor, innocent thing…

  32. LTS! says:

    You know regardless of whether you are right or wrong in this.. why do so many people feel compelled to jump to a conclusion?

    Right now you know that someone who created a scene and refused to cooperate with authorities in an airport then died in a holding cell. Until you know more don’t you think it’s wise to wait for more information? Do you just blindly assume anyone who tells you anything is lying? How do you get through the day?

    Once you know the facts, then start with your derisive comments, etc. That is unless you are some almighty being who knows all.

  33. smarty says:

    includes video interview of a couple witnesses who verify that she was running around screaming, and apparently was asked to calm down, and finally arrested when she wouldn’t calm down.

  34. hypnotik_jello says:

    @LTS!: because victim bashing in en vogue and oh so much fun!

  35. darkclawsofchaos says:

    Impossible to strangle one self if handcuffed properly. if from the back, your arms can’t go up, you pull them under you around your legs which can be difficult. if the front, it is also difficult as you hve to wrap your hands for an air choke, not blood since its not strong enough, and one will pass out before they can lethally strangulate themselves

  36. dantsea says:

    Hard to tell what happened from the information available, though it seems that over the past twenty years, a not-insignificant number of Phoenix PD and Maricopa SD detainees have met their demise via “asphyxiation.”

  37. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Causing a scene in an airport is enough to get you handcuffed? Good thing she didn’t get through security with more than 3 ounces of liquid!
    More Fatherland security/TSA goodness!!!
    Oh, and it’s the victim’s fault (this is the Consumerist comment area after all).

  38. Falconfire says:

    So its hitting the news all over now, and they are again stating the woman was handcuffed with her hands behind her back, and “somehow” got them around her neck which I am sorry is just not possibly without severely hurting yourself in the prosses bad enough to make you stop.

    They are also refusing to release any details of how it happened, even to her mother WHOOOOOOO…. happens to be noted advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

    This one is going to get REAAAALY messy.

  39. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I found a couple of articles that say her hands were cuffed behind her back, which is how I think they usually do it.

    Also, airport workers described her as “really scared, really frightened” and “a little not-there” and reported her saying “I’m not a terrorist! I’m a sick mom! I need help!”

    I’m wondering if she might not have had a panic attack of some kind, though there’s no indication of a psych history just yet.

    (a recent article)

  40. zibby says:

    Yup. Self-ownage by freak out. What’s the over/under on days before the lawsuit is filed?

  41. jamar0303 says:

    …That pretty much does it- no more US Airways for me. I’d rather take a foreign airline for otherwise-domestic flights and deal with Customs than risk that.

  42. OKH says:

    Only on Consumerist is this an innocent victim:

    “I believe she was a little not-there. She kept punching. She kept screaming. She kept kicking,” one worker told The News.”

    Nope, sorry. Not going to say she had it coming to her by any stretch but she was the main actor in her own demise.

  43. hi says:


  44. jamar0303 says:

    Well… She started out alive, did this “kicking and screaming”, and then was put into a holding cell. She ended up dead. It certainly wasn’t the kicking and screaming that did it, else she’d have been dead before she went into the holding cell. Maybe she wasn’t entirely innocent, but she was by no means the “main actor”- at least, not without knowing who or what else was in (or entered/exited) the holding cell with her. I think one of my main factors for choosing a university is going to be an easily-accessible train station.

  45. jamar0303 says:

    … because I sure don’t want to be with a domestic airline after all these incidents.

  46. @IRSistherootofallevil: i’d fly a lot more if they detained babies. i’m just saying…

  47. DearEditor says:

    Q: How many Maricopa cops does it take to throw a passenger down a flight of stairs?

    A: None; she fell.

  48. TehRev says:

    as far as the death goes. who knows. as far as the arrest. 100% justified from the details above. late too bad everyone else shouldn’t wait. They rebooked her next flight best that can be done.

    I think the airlines need to start doing more of a harsh cutoff. there is a reason for lots of delays and one of them is late people. My last 3 of 4 flights all had to sit and do 3 rounds of calls for people. If you aren’t ready to board be ready to wait for the next flight with an open seat.

  49. bbbici says:

    This is one case where i hope that airline and airport are sued to the point of economic collapse.

    It was probably the airline’s and/or airport’s fault she was late anyway, such as lack of parking, slow security, a late connection, etc.

  50. Anonymous says:

    So let me get this straight, you contend that this was likely the airline/airports fault because of lack of parking, slow security, etc?
    I had an interesting discussion with my little brother the other day about setting yourself up for success. He told me a story, trying to make the point that he wasn’t always to blame for his bad grades in college. Essentially, he once had a project on a mac that he thought was good to go. when it came time to give it (and it was worth 75% of his grade), it didn’t work on the mac in the classroom. See? It wasn’t his fault! Then I started asking basic questions that seek to find the real root of the problem:
    – did you ever test it anywhere but the lab you created it in?
    – did you ever bring it to the teacher before the thing was due to have him look at it and make sure it would work?
    – After you failed, did you take it back to the lab to see if it still worked there?
    – If you did that, did you appeal to the teacher and explain the situation?
    The problem here, as in many aspects of life, is that we create these rules – our own box to think in- that allows us to make bad choices with worse results.
    No matter how bad parking is, no matter how slow security is, no matter how late the connections are, there is a realistic way to avoid problems like this.
    Start by leaving early, making every attempt to arrive 2-3 hours before your flight.
    Take a cab or have someone drop you off (some airports have public trans that takes you right there).
    Simply put, if we go through life making excuses when things don’t work out instead of figuring out WHY they didn’ work, we never learn anything except how to make excuses.

  51. rjhiggins says:

    @TehRev: Just remember this comment the next time your connecting flight is delayed and you’re trying to get home on the last flight of the day…

  52. ChaosMotor says:

    I speculated on my blog the other day that she had been murdered, and imagine my surprise when all my search engine terms for that day related to her ‘accident’ – and demonstrated that the public has its own doubts about the ‘accident’.

    how do you strangle yourself with handcu
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  53. pshah says:

    @fejjnagaf: I am sure your “little brother” must have told you this but just in case :

    You are full of yourself!

    Yes you can prepare for every eventuality but there are paid employees whose PRIMARY JOB is to make sure that you don’t have to jump through hurdles to reach your destination. They are PAID to ensure that you have safe and smooth flight… the problems is that these assholes have become federal employees now and its much harder to fire them and they know it… also they have way more power than they deserve. If their (frequent) incompetence results in passengers getting upset then YES they are to be blamed…!

  54. drrictus says:

    Greyhound it is!

  55. quiksilver says:

    @ChewySquirrel: Exactly. And yes, we are a pretty screwed up country that sues everybody.

  56. Anonymous says:

    My little brother did not tell me I was ‘full of myself’. He was able to drop the ego act and realize that I was right. There are always things we can do to prevent issues from interfering with success. I know because I’ve made the same mistakes he did. I was helping him. I’ll give you that if he was a stranger and I was opening my mouth about it, I’d be full of myself. But we were discussing some important things. My point was that he take a proactive approach to his education from now on instead of ‘letting things happen’. It’s how I went from flunking out to graduating on the deans list. I’m sorry you never learned that making excuses for your own failures only excuses your failures, and only then to yourself. Everyone else just thinks you failed.
    I’m curious – who are the paid employees whose ‘primary job is to make sure you don’t have to jump through hurdles to reach your destination’ you are referring to?
    I’m curious, because I don’t know to whom you are speaking of…
    Are you saying security is supposed to?
    Airline employees?
    I guess if you want to be reactionary, it’s your perogative.
    But the last time I checked, security is tasked with making flights safer.
    And flight attendants are supposed to make the flight smoother and run well, but if the plane is on the tarmac ready to fly, then it sure isn’t a good idea for them to stop the flight, bring it back to the terminal and delay everyone elses flight so one late woman can board.
    And flight attendants are employed by the airlines, not the federal government.
    So you MUST be referring to the TSA, who are not involved in this matter. It was the local police department, who are also not federal employees.
    She was arrested by phoenix police for disturbing the peace (disorderly conduct), not by TSA. She wasn’t a security threat as much as she was a public nusaince.
    Read this:
    “Phoenix Police Department spokesman Andy Hill told CNN:

    We did receive a call that she was very loud – yelling and screaming, running around the concourse area. Two officers responded to that location. They contacted Ms. Gotbaum. They could not calm her down. There was probable cause to arrest her for disorderly conduct by disturbing the peace, which they did. It was very difficult for them to get her handcuffed, but they did not have to pepper-spray or Tase her or anything else.”
    Settle down. Take a step back and try to find some objectivity, especially in light of the fact that you only have part of the story. And your facts wrong.

  57. Anonymous says:

    well put.

  58. OKH says:

    @fejjnagaf: “Take a step back and try to find some objectivity, especially in light of the fact that you only have part of the story. And your facts wrong.” This is Consumerist, remember?

  59. boughy says:

    If I am siting in the airport and some crazy ass woman is yelling and screaming (maybe even kicking and punching, maybe) I want her removed as well. You fly, you do it by there rules. And even if I was in a restaurant I would expect police to come and take her away. Too bad she died. But she led to her arrest. Do you really think that screaming that you missed your flight is going to change anything these days. If anything the chaos could cause a delay to others as well for security reasons.
    The rest does sound sketchy so far but I will wait for more info. So far for part 1, she is in the wrong. I am still sorry she died.

    Police Chief Clancy Wiggum “Bake ’em away toys”.

  60. pshah says:

    “I’ll give you that if he was a stranger and I was opening my mouth about it, I’d be full of myself.”

    Umm… you are discussing the story with strangers (readers) right now.

    “There are always things we can do to prevent issues from… blah blah blah”

    Have you every come across a matter that is out of your hands? If not than you must be super successful, master of all and completely ecstatic with all aspects of your life. No?? What are you waiting for… no excuses…. get what you want… do what you want… ’cause everything is upto YOU.

    Ok… end rant… back to the topic at hand…

    Point is that there are multiple factors to an outcome… and sides to a story…

    Yes I was talking about TSA employees… no they weren’t involved?? You know that as a FACT?? How could you??

    Yes there are employees whose job it is to make you travel smoother (airline employees, airport personnel, TSA employees, etc, etc)…. shocking I know… but passengers are the customers.

    If you believe that you know all the “facts” just cause you read the filtered press and that it makes you some expert on this incident then suit yourself but no one with common sense buys that.

  61. LucyTuzy says:

    I think what’s missing from this story is an explanation about why
    she “freaked out”. Perhaps it was due to a need of medical attention.
    In some cases fevers or strokes can cause violent behavior. Did anyone
    bother to check her out BEFORE they cuffed her and threw her in a cell?

  62. Anonymous says:

    Oh boy. You just can’t leave well enough alone, can you?
    Yes. I was discussing it in this case with everyone. I was doing it to make my point.
    Have I ever come across anything that was out of my hands? Of course. But in my experience, there are almost always things we can do to prevent those things from going the wrong way. In THIS case, she was late and it was preventable. 100%. If you honestly believe there was NOTHING she could have done to make her flight, you are as delusional as you are short sighted and quick to judge. Your ‘rant’ is asinine.
    How do I know TSA wasn’t involed? That it is a fact? How could I? It’s called “reading” and it is a skill I learned as a youngster and then developed, and continue to do so, throughout my life. If you had bothered to read the link I provided, or even just the blurb I quoted from it, you’d see that TSA didn’t arrest anyone. Here, I’ll provide yet another link for you to not read that shows that it wasn’t TSA that made the arrest or detention.
    Boom. Right there in black and white. Go read the article….
    Of the people you listed who you claim to be tasked with making the flight smoother, only TSA are employed by the federal government. No where on their website could I find that listed as an objective. So that claim is also nonsense.
    Here’s what the TSA is supposed to do:
    “The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” But they weren’t involved, so it is a moot point. A hilarious logical error on your part, but moot.
    “If you believe that you know all the “facts” just cause you read the filtered press and that it makes you some expert on this incident then suit yourself but no one with common sense buys that”
    I guess you might be right! Better to guess at the facts, like you did, and make accusations and false assertions based on a post at the consumerist without reading any other fact based reporting on the matter.
    My bad. I was using my brains and decided to do a google search for news stories, then made my determination based on facts. Sorry.
    Face it Pshah, you are fighting with me over absolutely nada.
    All I said was let’s see what else comes out. YOU jumped to conclusions, attacked me for stating that there are things within our control that we can do to avoid problems, and then called my reasoned and researched opinion devoid of common sense.

  63. Anonymous says:

    my bad.

  64. infinitysnake says:

    @dantc: Something is definitekly fishy…her family lawyer claims she was also shackled to a tabletop.

  65. pshah says:

    I dont have time to write a long essay like you did but herez the bottom line… if everybody took the official statements and press report at face value then this article wouldn’t be on the website. Keep reading and believing what ever is fed to you… other people know better…

  66. specialed5000 says:

    There is no indication from the information in this story (or in any other articles that I have seen about this incident) that USAirways had anything to do with this, other that (correctly) calling police when an a passenger was creating a disturbance.

    If by using international airlines to fly domestically, you are saying that you would fly from, for example, New York to Washington by way of London, well that’s just stupid.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Fair enough.
    I’ll say it again – based on the information I read all over the web and in every news site I visited, she was arrested by the police department.
    Let’s reserve judgment until we hear more. It’s too bad you are too stubborn to even consider how ridiculous it is for you to say to me that I should be skeptical when you took this post and turned it into a tirade about the TSA and how they are now federal employees eager to abuse their power. Especially in light of the fact that TSA wasn’t involved.
    It is also ironic that you are now saying there is more to the story after having implied on this thread that TSA acted abusively and with physical force based on zero information and dangerous assumption.
    There IS more to this story. The shame of it all is how eager some consumerist readers are to come to conclusions that have nothing to do with what was reported based on their own negativity and imaginations. I’m glad you count yourself among those who ‘know better’. Me? I’m with the wait and see crowd. We’re the folks who aren’t ready to assume wrongdoing before that notion has even been reasonably introduced.

  68. wezelboy says:

    @TehRev: Have you ever been on a flight that has been delayed for some weird reason and spent the entire time worrying about missing your connecting flight?

    If someone is just plain late, screw ’em. But connecting flights are another story.

  69. Pasketti says:

    She may have been attempting something like this:


  70. OKH says:

    Turns out, she was on her way to retox according to the family attorney, and frankly that story seems fishy. Who goes to rehab by themselves? Why was she getting on a plane home to NY if she was GOING to rehab? OMGZ!! SMELLS LIKE A COVERUP TO ME!!11 Anyway, there’s your answer – she was most certainly the cause of her own demise.

  71. jamar0303 says:

    @specialed5000: No, more like San Fransisco to Nashville by way of Toronto (or Mexico City, or some nearby place outside America). Not that stupid. (although I’d go New York-Tokyo-Los Angeles just to experience the sheer joy that is ANA flight service) Oh, and I’m sure that US Airways probably isn’t at fault… if I haven’t seen various gate agents here in China be able to talk down people from “screaming and kicking” to quietly sitting and waiting for the next flight (very common with people here; I should know, I’m like that too and have seen lots of others like that). It takes work, and if the gate agents can’t handle it, they should be trained to or put in another line of work.

  72. comedian says:

    UPDATE. []

    Gotbaum was handcuffed and taken to a holding cell. She continued “to be vocally and physically disruptive in the holding room,” leading officers to further restrain her, Hill said.

    Officers used a 16-inch chain, called a shackle, that was attached to the bench she sat on and to the handcuffs.

    About 15 minutes later police “found her with the handcuffs up by her neck area,” Hill said. Gotbaum was unconscious, and police and firefighters tried to revive her by CPR and other means, Hill said.

    “They could not revive her and, tragically, she died.”

    Hill said many people are “able to get handcuffs around their back and get them up and around.”

    But Hill said authorities don’t know how the handcuffs “got placed on that neck area.”

    On Saturday, Hill said investigators guessed that “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.”

    When Gotbaum was found the handcuffs were in front of her body and the shackle was still attached to her handcuffs, officials said. They said the chain was not wrapped around her neck.

    “It was pulled against the front of her neck area,” Hill said.

    Again, the story isn’t how she behaved.

    The story is that she was left unattended, while highly agitated and restrained, leading to her death.

    Restrained prisoners must be observed and attended-to for just this reason. Handcuffed people have a reduced ability to provide for their own safety.

    Leaving her unattended for 15 minutes, while agitated and restrained, is not merely unforgivable, it is likely actionable.

  73. comedian says:

    Further update:

    The Daily News [] says that she may have been left alone and unobserved for 30 minutes.

    “You don’t then shackle someone to a bench and you certainly don’t leave them alone,” Manning said. The lawyer said preliminary information the family gathered indicated Carol Anne Gotbaum may have been left alone in the airport holding area for up to 30 minutes.

  74. nardo218 says:

    Don’t you people have siblings? It’s the easiest thing in the world to curl up and step over your cuffs to move them in front of you. Which she apparently didn’t know how to do, if she managed to get “tangled”.

  75. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    She DIED. Try to show a little class.