10/05/2007

Video released in Ariz. airport in-custody death case

By Jacques Billeaud
The Associated Press


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PHOENIX  — Surveillance video released Thursday of a woman who died in police custody shows her running through an airport terminal, bowing abruptly as she appeared to yell and then resisting arrest as three officers try to control her.

After police handcuffed Carol Anne Gotbaum behind her back, she locked her legs as officers held her by the arms and pushed her, still standing, through the terminal at Sky Harbor International Airport, the video shows.

Police released the video and their report on her arrest amid allegations from Gotbaum's family that officers manhandled her before her death last month. The family and the attorney have said they will not comment during a mourning period that ends early next week.

Gotbaum, the 45-year-old stepdaughter-in-law of New York's public advocate, was arrested Sept. 28 for disorderly conduct after she was kept off a connecting flight that was to bring her to Tucson, where she was set to enter a treatment center to confront her alcoholism.

Her husband, Noah Gotbaum, exchanged several phone calls with his wife during her two-hour layover at Sky Harbor International Airport, an attorney for her family said.

Her husband called emergency dispatchers before learning of her death to say she was in a deep depression and suicidal, according to the police report.

"They're not dealing with some lout who's just drank too much on an airplane," the report quoted Noah Gotbaum as saying. "That's not what's going on here."

Police said Gotbaum was shackled to a bench and left alone in a holding room where she was later found unconscious and not breathing, with the chain from the shackle pulled against the front of her neck. Authorities are investigating the death.

The video released Thursday didn't contain audio, and Gotbaum was a considerable distance from the cameras throughout most of the footage.

Gotbaum backed away after airport workers and police approached her. Next, she was on the ground — it was unclear how she got there — and continued resisting officers after they put her back on her feet.

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