US Airways Passenger Who Died In Airport Holding Cell Was On Her Way To Rehab

This story just keeps getting sadder. Carol Anne Gotbaum, the passenger who got into a screaming match with US Airways gate attendants and later died in a holding cell after being arrested, was on her way to an alcohol treatment center in Tucson to seek help. She was also the stepdaughter-in-law of New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

The public advocate has released a statement, according to the NYT:

Saying it appeared that her stepdaughter-in-law had been “manhandled” by police officers before her death in police custody in Phoenix on Friday, New York City’s public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, called yesterday for an investigation into the circumstances of the death.

“The family has not reached a conclusion as to whether her care and treatment were inappropriate, but the circumstances were highly unusual,” Mr. Manning [lawyer] said. “This woman — who was 5 foot 7, less than 110 pounds — was without doubt emotionally disturbed, and at this stage the family understands why the Phoenix Police Department intervened, but it’s what happened after the intervention that causes us concern.”

“We are not jumping to any conclusions, but the circumstances surrounding Carol’s death appear to be unusual enough to raise serious questions and warrant a thorough investigation,” [Betsy Gotbaum] said. “She cried out for help at the airport, but her pleas appear to have been met by mistreatment.”

Previous reports have described Gotbaum as screaming, “I’m not a terrorist! I’m a sick mom! I need help!”

NYC Public Advocate’s Relative Who Died at Airport Was Heading to Rehab [Fox News]
Gotbaum Seeks Investigation Into Death [NYT]
Family seeks answers in airport death [Arizona Republic]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hanke says:

    OK, and this has WHAT to do with the particular airline?

    Late for a flight, denied boarding, gets out of line. Airline NOT responsible.

  2. JKinNYC says:

    Before all the trolls get here, let me summarize the two types of comments to follow:

    1)The snotty bitch threw a tantrum and made her own bed
    2) The evil TSA and Airport cops are evil killers.

  3. beavis88 says:


    You’re not allowed to say anything good about US Air here. And in fact, you’re apparently supposed to go out of your way to besmirch US Air even when they may not necessarily deserve it (which I’ll freely admit, isn’t all that often).

  4. lalahsghost says:

    Whatever it is, it’s still a shame she died.

  5. Sudonum says:

    This is not blaming the victim, but if you’re going to Tucson from Phoenix why not drive it? It’s like a 2 hour drive.

  6. cde says:

    @Hanke: Calm down. It’s just a way to link the story. How else would we know that this passenger was the same one in the last story

  7. coan_net says:

    I’ve read about this story a couple of places – so was she late and just trying to skip the screening process – like run around it and stopped? I mean I haven’t flown anywhere in the past 6 years, but I even know that you need to get to the airport very early to get through all the processes. If a person is late, that does not give them special treatment to get past all the security – otherwise everyone would just show up late and expect to be hurried on.

  8. cde says:

    @Sudonum: I think we would all prefer that someone checking into rehab for alcoholism not drive.

  9. Geekybiker says:

    @Sudonum: Alcoholic? Possibly no license?

    I dont know about cops being killers, but the airport police and TSA being negligent would not surprise me.

  10. Buran says:

    @coan_net: I don’t think she was entirely normal at the time, considering she was on her way to a help facility. Normally, I would agree with you, but there was something amiss that she didn’t have control of. The police should have recognized this and rendered assistance, but it looks like they may have fallen into the “sit down, shut up, if you twitch we’ll drag you off to Gitmo” mentality that airlines and airports have that has me hating having to fly these days.

  11. Ben Popken says:

    FYI People often go to rehab drunk.

  12. Jerim says:


    I agree. Sad things happen, and sometimes it is no one’s fault. This is just a sad tragic accident. I can understand the family’s grief and there is no reason an investigation shouldn’t be done.

  13. Buran says:

    @coan_net: … and blaming the victim is a little uncalled for when the victim isn’t in control of their actions as normally would be the case.

  14. Falconfire says:

    @coan_net: she wasnt trying to get past security, she was trying to actually board the flight. The plane was still at the gate but they refused her boarding rights. I can understand their reasoning so really the Airline isnt at fault here (nor is anyone really blaming them)

    The airport on the other hand broke many procedures relating to treatment of prisoners, none the least being you NEVER LOCK SOMEONE UP IN A CELL IN HANDCUFFS BEHIND THEIR BACKS! You bring them in, close the door, and ask them to turn around and put their hands through so you can remove the cuffs. Whats worse, not only did they handcuff her… the shackled her to a wall. Its no wonder she freaked out and accidentally hung herself trying to get out of them. Even being handcuffed behind your back for a couple of minutes is enough to make someone who is already unstable panic and flip out. This is why the dont use handcuffs on crazy people, but straight jackets so they cant hurt themselves.

  15. joopiter says:

    I wonder if the initial freakout started because she realized that she’d be alone in an airport with bars all over the place while she waited for the next flight. Very sad story… I’m curious to know if any surveillance video of the incident will be released. (I’m assuming that there’s cameras all over the place in airports)

  16. LTS! says:

    Bullshit. If the victim was drunk then you blame no one but the victim. If she was on her way to rehab it would have been nice if she had a friend. If she was that belligerant from being drunk she wouldn’t have made it on the plane anyway.

    We’ll wait for the details, but the police are not babysitters and the easiest way to avoid this situation is to not get in the situation in the first place.

    Bottom line, had she not committed the actions that led to her being detained she would not have died in custody. The question of whether it was appropriate to detain her seems to be answered already.

  17. veraikon says:

    I’m surprised we haven’t heard more from civilian witnesses. Sky Harbor is always busy. There were loads of people who witnessed her outburst, I’m sure of it. Someone out there can fill in the blanks. There’s WAY more to this story.

    For example, as mentioned in the main Gawker comments, why was she traveling alone if she was unwell? Did her family not know where she was/what she was doing? And was this incident less about “OMG fascist airport security” and more about her being completely 100% out of control? If anyone here has ever truly seen a person lose it in public, you know it’s a scary site. You just want that person to be taken AWAY, somewhere, anywhere. Whatever the truth, I have a feeling this is going to get much, much messier.

  18. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    @BURAN… but blaming the airline for not knowing that they were dealing with an unstable person isnt appropriate either. If this poor woman wasnt in control of her actions, someone should have been with her, at least to help her board the plane. Regardless of how possible that is for her, it is NOT the responsibility of the airline or security to provide care for a mentally unstable individual who is creating a disturbance. In this day and age, youre lucky to not get shot trying to skip screening.

    I think that most sensabile people know that the airline security and police are overreacting on a regular basis over converns of terrorism. Its probably not the best idea to go to the airport with an attitude.

    We cant blame the victim or the police or the airline, because we simply dont have the details yet.

  19. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    Quoting your comment on the last post:

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

    So I guess now that you’ve found out that she had a drinking problem (for which she was on her way to get help), you’re ready to start with the almighty, all-knowing, derisive victim-blaming.

    @EVERYONE: People, the woman DIED. Show a little class. Or if you have none, a little humanity.

  20. Javert says:

    @Buran: Just curious as to how the police/security should have recognized that she was not in control? How does one tell the difference between a violent person and one “not in control?” What is the difference? Are you implying she was drunk at the time?

  21. hypnotik_jello says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: You’re asking way too much of this group.

  22. Charles Duffy says:

    @LTS!: There still remains the question of whether the procedures followed when detaining her were appropriate. Leaving handcuffed individuals unsupervised != kosher.

    To be sure, there is personal responsibility on her part for getting into the situation in the first place. That doesn’t absolve any other parties of their role.

  23. It’s a sad event all around, BUT she was obviously doing something she shouldn’t after being detained (trying to get out of the handcuffs). People sometimes to stupid things and you can’t possibly babysit them 24/7. We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions from time to time.

  24. Falconfire says:

    @Javert: Its not the job of the police to recognize if someone is in control or not. It IS the job of the police to assume they are not no matter what and take specific precautions dealing with them.

    Generally few people are violent for violence sake, just about everyone who is uncontrollably violent like she was apparently is under the influence of something, or has other psychological issues. As a police officer its your duty to respond to that much differently than you would respond to say a criminal.

  25. Lonestar says:

    Just remember the should be headline:
    Bush lied, the TSA Tried, and alcoholics died

  26. duckyvoodoo says:

    Ugh. Saying she deserved to DIE because she wasn’t following the airline’s rules is just about the nastiest, most soulless thing I’ve ever heard.
    I hope her Stepmother-in-law sues that airline for a fucking crapload of money.

  27. SVreader says:

    It seems really odd to me that a person who was described as being terrified, confused, and out of control would be left alone while handcuffed, but I don’t know what the protocol for these things are. What a shame.

  28. badteaparty says:

    Whoa, so being mentally ill and/or drunk warrants a death sentence? Since when? It seems like based on some of the reasoning here, she deserved to be in custody so she deserved whatever she got thereafter. Check the constitution, that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

    More to the point, I still haven’t seen any plausible explanation of how a person with handcuffs behind their back can strangle themselves. Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

  29. Stan LS says:

    No justice, no peace! :(

  30. Lonestar says:


    These are the same people that explain away suicide with a pump shotgun

  31. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @duckyvoodoo: @SVreader: @badteaparty:

    THANK YOU — islands of reason in a sea of victim-blaming.

  32. OKH says:

    @Falconfire: You seem to know a lot about alleged procedures there. You have this on what authority?

  33. NoWin says:

    “They say I should go to rehab, but I say No, No, No.”…Thank You to Amy Winehouse.

    I’m with “VERAIKON AT 11:26 AM….There’s WAY more to this story.”

  34. OKH says:

    Know who I feel bad for? Who I think the victim is? The poor bastard 60k a year cop that just wanted to go home to his family and who BY ALL ACCOUNTS FOLLOWED PROTOCOL but now has to deal with this for the rest of his life. Of course, no one can dare step outside their ideologies to see that.

    More victim blaming indeed.

  35. mandarin says:

    Why is a sick person flying alone?

  36. PDQ2 says:

    The NYT article indicated she lived in New York City. She may not have had a drivers license.

  37. hypnotik_jello says:

    @OKH: How we we really know he followed protocol? Gotta a link to an objective source, if so, please share.

  38. frogman31680 says:

    Ok, here goes my viewpoint. Not knowing too much except what I have read.

    1- trying to bypass security measures is obviously wrong. Go through and request one of those little cart things that beep to take you there.

    2- Detaining her was the right thing to do. Once they arrested her and questioned her, her flight would have been long gone by then.

    3- The airline is negligent in my eyes IF THEY LEFT HER ALONE IN THERE. If you are detaining a person, for whatever reason, you should be responsible for them. Even if she tries to commit suicide, there should have been someone there to try to stop her.

    So all in all, it’s sad that she died. There were mistakes on all ends of this spectrum. And that is why I’m not in law enforcement or any aspect of the judicial system. My views may be radical, but they would be effective.

  39. frogman31680 says:

    Also, one last thought. If they hadn’t detained her and she died on the plane, would it still be viewed as the airlines fault?

  40. hypnotik_jello says:

    @OKH: The cop died? This is news to me. Last I checked, the victim DIED. Do you have a callous disregard for human life? Sounds like it from your comments.

  41. lestat730 says:

    Regardless of who might be at fault, it is just plain sad that this had to happen. I really feel for this woman’s friends and family. It’s a HUGE step for someone to enter recovery for any type of substance addiction. It can be really scary to make a change and deviate from a habit that has continued for many miserable and depressed years. Also, it is a proven fact that alcoholics can die from alcohol withdrawal and they require medical detoxification (usually involving a drug such as Librium) to do so safely. Even if the cop’s were justified in the arrest, they should have brought her to a hospital, not a jail cell. People going into rehabs are not weekend warriors, they are very sick people with a disease. I once had a friend who had an addiction to opiates, he was getting his fix for the night to hold him over comfortably until he entered rehab the next morning. Anyway, he was pulled over that night and the officer found the drugs. When he told the officer he was entering rehab the next morning, the officer let him go. If it isn’t a violent offense, treatment is always better then jail time (which solves nothing.)

  42. ancientsociety says:

    Not entirely sure why no one here seems to understand the term [b]”In policy custody”[/b].

    Whether or not she is to blame,etc., when someone is in police custody, it is the job of the police to make sure that person doesn’t hurt themself or others. They obviously failed.

  43. Flynn says:

    On the “out of control” issue…here’s what I don’t understand.

    On one hand, you’ve got armed, trained security people who have numbers and weapons on their side.

    On the other hand, you have a single woman, 5’7″, 110 lbs.

    Every time I see 50 cops piling on one 5’6″ guy, I think of them watching too many training movies that show kids turning into The Hulk on PCP or something.

    How would they have differentiated between her disturbed state and other, more dangerous states? Oh, I dunno…experience maybe? Instead of hiring people at $12.50 an hour for airport security, maybe having a few honest-to-goodness cops around to know the difference between a housewife on the way to rehab and a drugged out fiend intent on ripping arms out of sockets? Because while you and I might not know the difference, I have to believe any experienced bouncer would. And a good cop DEFINITELY would.

  44. Flynn says:

    My mistake for not RTFA. The cops did get to her, not just airport security, it seems. Either way, my point is that excessive force is just that, and I’m tired of seeing the supposed “strongest” of us being afraid of every single person. Don’t the police have any ability to estimate true risk anymore?

  45. Leiterfluid says:

    I guess the only question I have is why was she still handcuffed if she was in a holding cell. That would seem a bit excessive to me, but since I wasn’t there, all I can do is speculate.

  46. Hanke says:

    @cde: I’m just tired of seeing stories here that give the appearance of demonizing a (for the moment) innocent party. US Airways didn’t cuff her, the police did. US Airways didn’t leave her alone in a holding cell, the police did. She wasn’t in US Airways custody, she was in police custody. She wasn’t restratined by US Airways, she was restrained by the police. See the theme here?

    I know I’m not the only person with this complaint; as much as walmart gets demonized here (and in most cases rightfuly so) if a story should show up about some shoplifter being arrested there who later dies in PD custody, guss what the headline says?

    “WALMART SHOPPER DIES…after shoplifting arrest”

  47. Stan LS says:

    “Last I checked, the victim DIED.”

    Victom of what? The autopsy hasn’t been done yet.

  48. Stan LS says:

    “but since I wasn’t there, all I can do is speculate.”

    That’s probably the most sensible comment on this thread.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Go back and read about it again.
    At no point was it even implied in anyway that she tried to avoid security. Plainly put, this has nothing to do with security.
    She was late. By the time she got to the gate, the plane she was supposed to be on was pulling out of the gate. It’s got literally nothing to do with security. As a matter of fact, they called the local police department who handled things.

  50. Anonymous says:

    Do you read?
    The police apprehended her. Airport security was not involved.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Standard operating procedure in arrests involve keeping the perp cuffed at all times until they are placed in a proper jail.
    That’s why she was still cuffed. She was in a detention center, not a jail.

  52. $5 says her step-father-in-law had her put out.

  53. FMulder says:

    I am (not) surprised at the relatively-high level of sympathy for the woman who died. She fits the profile that most (here) would find sympathetic.

    Now if some of you could keep even the tiniest bit of that concern about ‘excessive police action’ for people who don’t meet her demographic?

  54. Anonymous says:

    For the record, it is sad that she died. But I wonder about a group of people who are willing to place blame on the police involved without any real evidence of any wrongdoing what so ever.
    It’s curious to me that when people point out errors in judgment on behalf of the person they label the ‘victim’, they are accused of victim bashing.
    Curious indeed.
    Makes me wonder if folks here care about the truth or just come here to bash.

  55. Anonymous says:

    if she’s a hardcore alcoholic as described, she could have went into DT’s (delerium tremens better known as alcohol withdrawal) and that could have easily done her in.

    there’s not necessarily any abuse or foul play going on here.

  56. kimsama says:

    Sounds like it may just be a sad case of police procedure meeting with a very sick woman and producing a sad result. Sometimes, procedure is written without careful regard to mentally/physically ill or otherwise non-normal adults, and that can lead to tragedies like this one. She may not even have been well enough/clear-headed enough to make it known that she shouldn’t have been unsupervised.

    While perhaps litigation for negligence wouldn’t be a surprising outcome, I don’t think we need to lay the blame at anyone’s feet right now. There will be an investigation, and wrongdoing will be decided, but it is good to be aware of the fact that if you know someone traveling who is ill or otherwise incapable of traveling in a “normal” manner, it may be a good idea to make sure they are accompanied. I’m sure this woman has loved ones who regret that she was alone. I know if I ever have a loved one in the same situation, I will be careful now, after reading about this, to see that they have someone there to protect/control them.

  57. edrift101 says:

    @Flynn: That kind of talk, will get you tased.

  58. mac-phisto says:

    @Falconfire: right on. no cuffs in the holding cell (at least from my experience….er, did i say that?)

  59. Keter says:

    I’m waiting for the results of a real investigation and I too would like to hear some more eyewitness accounts.

  60. zibby says:

    I’m glad this family isn’t my support network – no way in hell she should have been traveling alone. Maybe they can seek some of their answers there.

  61. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    It’s just amazing, the rush to blame here. Let’s stick to what we really know, hmm?

    Gotbaum: flipped out because she missed the flight by that much. Maybe, as Ben suggests, she was drunk, maybe she was DTing, maybe she was afraid that if she didn’t get into rehab right away that she’d head straight for the airport bar. Maybe she was just obnoxious and self-entitled. Maybe she’d worked herself up into a berserker rage and was fully capable of hurting cops more than twice her size. We don’t know, yet.

    Police: stuck her in a cell where she was handcuffed to a bench with a long chain involved somehow. Maybe they did it because they thought she was in danger of hurting herself and that’s all they had in the way of restraints, even though she ended up hurting herself anyway. Maybe they’re incompetent; maybe they hurt her and this is how they covered it up. We don’t know, yet.

    What we do know: A woman is dead. Dead woman’s family, very influential, are looking into it. And many of you are pretty quick to find someone to blame for it without knowing much about the situation.

  62. pshah says:

    @Stan LS:
    “Victom of what?”

    At the very least victim of an accident (maybe something more??).

    And yes we are barking away at this column and speculating… that’s the point… share/discuss information, viewpoints, etc.
    No one is passing a judgement here… just their opinions, best guesses… so all those who want to wait (FEJJNAGAF :) for the “facts” to be fed to them then all I have to say is STFU and wait. Don’t tell us to stop using our brains and/or suppress our common sense till we get a nice story that ties up all the loose end all nicely.

    @CONSUMERIST MODERATOR – ACAMBRAS : Thanks for putting a brake on victim bashing.

  63. CoffeeAddict says:

    This a sad and tragic but that is all. No investigation needs to be done. Bury your loved one and move on. Sad things happen everyday, they are called accidents and we move along with our lives. Dwelling on this only makes the living feel worse.

  64. CurbRunner says:

    Reports I heard said that the police claim she died by strangling herself in the cell while she was handcuffed behind her back.
    As far as I know, the actual physics involved in being able to strangle yourself while handcuffed behind your back, cannot occur in this quadrant of the Universe.

  65. Anonymous says:

    No, you’re right.
    Much better to pretend we know the story, admonish the police and label the person who died the ‘victim’. Then we can pass judgment on each other for passing judgment on the story.
    Your way is better.
    I blame the children.
    It’s always their fault!
    What I don’t get is how you can say it is okay for us to speculate and lay blame and then a sentence later thank the moderator for stopping the victim bashing…
    What if this woman TRIED to kill herself? Wouldn’t that make the police the victim?
    I think it might. So YOUR way ends up victim bashing….
    I’m sorry the woman died too, but I don’t want or need to be ‘fed’ anything – I want the truth. And we aren’t likely to get it by jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. As a matter of fact, isn’t that what happenend in the Duke Lacross team rape trial? Why yes, it is. People got one side of the story and jumped to their own conclusions, unwilling or unable to wait for the results of the investigation.

  66. But I wonder about a group of people who are willing to place blame on the police involved without any real evidence of any wrongdoing what so ever.

    @fejjnagaf: But we do know that they left her alone in the holding cell. No one was watching her, not even on camera (there was no camera).

    Don’t you have to watch people that you’ve detained?

  67. What if this woman TRIED to kill herself? Wouldn’t that make the police the victim?

    @fejjnagaf: No, that makes her loved ones the victims.

  68. Anonymous says:

    “Another common method of escaping (or attempting to escape) from being handcuffed behind the back, is that one would, from a sitting or lying position, bring one’s legs up as high upon one’s torso as possible, then push one’s arms down to bring the handcuffs below one’s feet, finally pulling the handcuffs up using one’s arms to the front of one’s body.”
    Not only is it possible, it happens from time to time.
    From news stories:
    “Gotbaum was discovered with her arms raised and her handcuffs “pressed up against her neck area,” adding that it’s not unusual for people in wrist shackles at the back to maneuver their hands around to the front.”

    Sounds reasonable….
    Still waiting for the autopsy report.

  69. Anonymous says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    You sure don’t. As a matter of fact, per the procedure in Arizona, they routinely check on detainees. There is no reason to watch people who have been detained.

  70. Anonymous says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    Well, no one is bashing the ladies family (yet).
    But insinuating police misconduct when none appears to have occured makes the victim the police…. Sort of.

  71. SeattleGuy says:

    @frogman31680: 3- The airline is negligent in my eyes IF THEY LEFT HER ALONE IN THERE. If you are detaining a person, for whatever reason, you should be responsible for them. Even if she tries to commit suicide, there should have been someone there to try to stop her.

    The airline? They didn’t detain her. Public servants in the employ of the city of Phoenix detained her. It was the Phoenix Police Department who acted negligently and who should pay the consequences of their actions.

    Manslaughter, Negligent Homicide, one of these is the charge the prosecutor should be actively pursuing.

  72. Anonymous says:

    FYI, this just in thanks to Slate. It’s totally possible to choke yourself out trying this maneuver….

  73. ArtDonovansLoveChild. says:

    @SeattleGuy: LOL. Right, victim bashing is bad, but calling cops murderers is ok I guess. If the cops keps her in cuffs to prevent her from hurting herself (a common procedure in detention facilities pre-prison) and she manages to hurt herself still how is that their fault.

    Ill give an example. In the old Vet stadium there was a jail underneath the stands for unruly fans. One game a friend of mine jumped out onto the field, and was arrested. He was cuffed to a bench in the holding cell until after the game, when he was released. We went to get him and there were 8-10 drunks in similar position. The officers didnt need to watch them, they just let them sit there until they calmed down, checking on them periodically. My guess is the airport “jail” is a similar set up, and keep people cuffed to make them more manageable

  74. Stan LS says:

    “Don’t tell us to stop using our brains and/or suppress our common sense..”

    Common sense? Due to the lack of facts, more like imagination. Imagine away, then. Maybe aliens got her.

  75. samftla says:

    Same old story if someone has an obvious physical injury the police summon medical help. Someone with a possibly mental problem, they shackle them and haul them off to a cell and dump them. Did they even consider for one moment that this women might have a serious emotional problem and summon medical assistance? Obviously not.

  76. MrEvil says:

    Almost sounds like she has the same travel agent as Ron White. Got booked on a flight from Flagstaff to Phoenix. I don’t know, but it seems like you could hire a private car cheaper than fly within Arizona.

  77. Extended-Warranty says:

    “Know who I feel bad for? Who I think the victim is? The poor bastard 60k a year cop that just wanted to go home to his family and who BY ALL ACCOUNTS FOLLOWED PROTOCOL but now has to deal with this for the rest of his life. Of course, no one can dare”

    100% agreed

    Let’s see, we have a beligerant woman at the airport on her way to REHAB (which suggests previous issues huh?).

    And we have an airport cop trying to maintain the peace.

    That is all I need to say.

  78. formergr says:

    Ugh, this reminds me way too much of something that happened in Chicago last year. A 20-something year old woman was traveling through Midway airport to get home to CA because she was bipolar, had gone off her meds, and her parents had arranged to get her home to get back in treatment for it. She had a freak out at the airport, and instead of taking her to the hospital, the cops jailed her for disturbing the peace or some such nonsense.

    Her parents somehow found out she’d been taken to the closest police station, and they kept calling there to explain the situation to the cops, and ask them to either not release her until they got to Chicago on whatever the next available flight was, or take her to a mental hospital. The cops blew them off, and the parents kept calling and trying to get someone to listen to them.

    The cops promptly released her right by the police station into one of the worst neighborhoods in the city– she was also completely disoriented and incoherent. Within an hour, she was grabbed by some scummy drug dealer who took her up to his 5th floor apt in the projects, raped her a few times, and then either shoved her out the window or she jumped.

    She now is basically a vegetable due to the head injuries, and her parents are suing the Chicago PD.

  79. OKH says:

    Oooops – I was right – looks like it was more than booze:

    From todays NY Post:

    “On Nov. 1, 2006, authorities said, NYPD officers were called to Carol and Noah Gotbaum’s Upper West Side town house to assist a 44-year-old woman who had attempted suicide by taking pills.

    Then, in the past three or four weeks, Carol tried to kill herself in an unknown manner and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital, sources said.”

    But again, you go on with your bad cognitively dissonant selves.

  80. Javert says:

    The following is based on perception:

    The police have a job to protect the public. If an individual is deemed to be threatening this status, they should be removed. It is not the job of the police at this point to psycho analyze this person until after they have been removed from a situation of concern.

    I am still stunned that a few of you seem to think that prior to restraining someone the police should make some sort of ‘call’ w/r/t the mental condition of the perp.

    Also, comparing this to the Chicago story…again, when someone is freaking out at an airport, the police should not have to analyze someone prior to moving them into custody. They must remove them to prevent issues with the general public. Now if the facts of your story are true, my support of the actions of the Chicago police ends there but I still do not see how police should make a judgment call as to someone’s mental condition prior to removing them from a situation to a safer locale (the holding tank)?

  81. Javert says:

    @formergr: Could you provide a link to this story? Thank you.

  82. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:



    Until reading your comment, I’d never seen someone report a suicide attempt so smugly and gleefully.

  83. hypnotik_jello says:

    She should have just shown her receipt!

  84. ancientsociety says:

    @Javert:You are right, it is the cop’s job to remove someone who could possibly harm themself or others. But that doesn’t mean that their job and responsibility ends there.

    You mentioned it and I think it should be pointed out that she was in policy custody. The police are therefore responsible for both her well-being and that of those around her. It doesn’t mean they get to lock a suspect up and throw away the key.

  85. Anonymous says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS:
    More ‘moderation’ or what?
    I am aware that I am risking my account posting priveledges, but shouldn’t you be avoiding insulting other people over your personal perceptions?
    This is the second time I’ve seen you post something like this. The first was to thank people who had been blaming the police instead of the ‘victim’ and now it’s to tell someone that their benign reporting of fact was smug and gleeful.
    Granted, your job is to moderate, but don’t you think you should be more careful about your own wording, lest you risk insulting faithful consumerist readers?
    All he did was provide factual detail. Now, as a moderator, you are passing judgment on his intent?
    How about instead of passing judgment on what was brought to the table (which, by the way, was pertinent and not smug or gleeful) and moderate the forum when people make ridiculous statements about ‘victim bashing’. The point of his post was to bring new information to the table. Nothing he said was disruptive, incorrect, or accusatory.
    It’s pretty clear he was directing his comment towards the people around here who
    just saying.
    please don’t kill my account over this.

  86. pshah says:


    One of the common cases where police is not the “victim” []

    They must remove them to prevent issues with the general public but the police shouldn’t use their best judgement? So just because of the inability of the police to assess the situation some mentally challenged person gets thrown in jail? Whats next? Handicapped person thrown in jail cause he/she can’t stand up to get searched by airport security?

    Get your head examined… its “To Protect And Serve”

    She wasn’t hurting anyone was she??

  87. pshah says:

    “I am aware that I am risking my account posting priveledges, but shouldn’t you be avoiding insulting other people over your personal perceptions?”

    What about you bashing the victim, insulting others whose viewpoint differs from you… if you want to wait for “facts” go ahead… you can’t dictate everyone to stop expressing their viewpoint… also since you want to reserve judgement till the autopsy why bash the victim before that fact is known to you???

    Let me put this as politely as possible,
    Consumerist would be better off without the likes of you… the overbearing poster trying to force his sick viewpoint on everyone.

  88. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    I certainly would not consider your disagreement with me (or with my style) grounds for “killing” your account — I neither want nor need to abuse power in that way.

    But I do disagree with your assessment. Before I responded to OKH, I did check out his/her comment history, including comments made on the previous related post. If you check out his/her comment history, you’ll see why I came to the conclusion I did.

  89. synergy says:

    The mentally ill often “self-medicate” with illegal drugs and/or alcohol.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Well, first off – I’m not moderator. If I was, I would have booted you a long time ago for picking fights, insulting people you disagree with repeatedly, and saying things like waiting for the facts to come out is silly.
    Please tell me what is ‘sick’ about my viewpoint? Is it that I don’t think we should all jump to conclusions and refrain from implying that the police involved are murderers, especially when there is nothing that even comes close to implying that to be true?
    Because that’s all you’ve done since you started spouting your invectives.
    Please tell me when I ‘bashed’ the victim as well. Because I am curious why you continue to assault me and my opinions when yours are based squarely in your overactive imagination.
    Was I bashing the victim when I said that being late doesn’t excuse bad behavior? Maybe it was when I said that being late for a flight is always the fault of the person who was late – that it is preventable and avoidable? Was I victim bashing when I asked you to stop accusing the police of murder? Perhaps I was being overbearing when I related a personal story to illustrate my point about avoidable failure.
    Who knows.
    Here’s what I know – people like you don’t like to wait for the truth to come out. People like you like to spout off and make baseless accusations. People like you aren’t interested in truth, just fiction. People like you try to shut up people around them that disagree with them.
    People like you pretend to care about expression, yet will tell others who freely express themselves that they are bad people for speaking their own minds.
    As others have pointed out to you before, you are a hypocrite. You tell me I can’t make my opinion heard while telling me that I shouldn’t tell you that your imagined, meritless position are pure speculation.
    Others have said it to you before and it’s too bad that you aren’t interested in listening:
    You are speculating. That’s all you are doing. When other people put in the effort to get the actual information, you accuse them of wanting to be ‘fed’ the news.
    You are ridiculous.

  91. Anonymous says:

    One more thing – how do you know she was mentally challenged?
    That seems like an awful thing to say about someone who was about to enter detox.
    What is your source for this?
    And what on god’s green earth does the link you provided have anything to do with the price of tea in china?
    Are you seriously trying to link a case where police picked someone up on prostitution charges, then dropped the charges to this case?
    Yeah. Cops are people. they make mistakes. Nobody is perfect.
    But why is it that you think the two cases are at all related?
    And in that post, you again take it too far by telling a reader to ‘get your head examined’.
    Is that necessary?
    THAT’S exactly what this site DOESN’T need – people who insult other people because they can’t make their point any other way.
    It’s one thing to point out how stupid and nonsensical someone else’s point is. It’s entirely another to tell someone to ‘get your head examined’….
    Insulting for insultings sake are we?

  92. Anonymous says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS:
    I like your style, I’m just curious about the moderation around here when people like PSHAH are given free reign to make others feel uncomfortable expressing their opinions. Here is a poster who has repeatedly attacked others personally with no rebuke from the mods, yet OKH makes what appears to be a benign statement of fact, followed by a snarky comment about the poor attitudes of some who wish to convict the police on no evidence gets a firm how do you do….
    It’s really not a personal thing with you, I just wonder if there could be a way to stop the ridiculous posters from making and taking everything so personally. The other day, I said something about waiting for more information before we all decide the cops are guilty, and PSHAH spent multiple posts directly attacking my integrity, including calling my viewpoint “sick”.

  93. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:



    The “dialogue” between you two has gotten away from a discussion of the post and has become quite a multi-post flame war. Please knock it off and stick to the topic(s), or I’ll have to submit an expense report to Gawker for Excedrin reimbursements.

  94. Anonymous says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS:
    THAT is funny.
    I’ll buy the excedrin.

  95. formergr says:

    @Javert: Here’s a link to one of many Chicago Tribune articles on the woman’s fall that I posted about after she was released by Chicago PD:

    If link doesn’t work, just Google Christina Eilman.

  96. Momofzeus says:

    I have worked at Sky Harbor for over 17 years. I have little or no faith in the City of Phoenix Aviation. In September of this year, we discontinued medical/disabled parking for employees, does that tell you anything about how they treat people? It took over 2 years of the employees complaining about the checkpoints not screening our fellow workers in the early morning hours. These are just two examples of how much compassion and helpfulness we have for people here at Sky Harbor. One must wonder if the tapes in the area of door #27 in the area of the Police Room will be turned over to the family of the dead passenger. I hope they do sue, then maybe this will bring about some positive changes to the airport. Until changes are made, they don’t deserve another Super Bowl! It starts from the Director down, right thru all of these Supervisors who answer a question with a question. Just my views of another tragic event at the airport.