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Husband says kindness might have saved wife at airport – CNN.com

Husband says kindness might have saved wife at airport – CNN.com


The husband of Carol Anne Gotbaum, the woman who died in police
custody at the Phoenix, Arizona, airport, says a little kindness might
have saved her life. 

 

"If the airline or
the police authorities had treated Carol with some modicum of
sensitivity and grace, or one single person at that airport had put an
arm around her shoulder, sat her down and given her some protection,
she might still be with us today," Noah Gotbaum said at her funeral
Sunday in New York.

CNN obtained a recording of Noah Gotbaum’s eulogy with the family’s permission.

Carol Gotbaum died September 28 in a holding cell at Phoenix’s Sky
Harbor Airport. She apparently became angry after not being allowed to
board a flight to Tucson, Arizona, and was arrested.

Surveillance video showed her resisting police who handcuffed her and dragged her away. Authorities believe she strangled herself as she tried to maneuver out
of handcuffs secured behind her back and attached to a bench in the
holding cell.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy
went into the same holding cell where Gotbaum died and had officers
handcuff and shackle her in the same position as Gotbaum, a source
close to the investigation told CNN.

The medical examiner’s height and weight are similar to Gotbaum’s, making the re-enactment worth doing, the source said.

Authorities said, following Gotbaum’s death, that she might have been
drinking, and an attorney retained by her family has said she was
traveling to Tucson to check into an alcohol treatment center.

However, the source told CNN that Gotbaum was sober when she arrived in
Phoenix, as she sent a series of e-mails and made some phone calls,
sounding lucid.

But 46 minutes before the Tucson flight was
scheduled to leave, Gotbaum went to an airport sports bar to get
something to eat, and may have had some drinks there, the source said.
She arrived at the gate one minute after boarding was closed, and was
not allowed to board.

Although that upset her, the source said,
she did not become irate — as seen on an airport surveillance tape —
until she was not allowed to get on the next flight to Tucson.

The police report said a man
offered to give up his seat on that flight for her, but officials told
her he could not do that because it would be considered a security breach.

That may explain why witnesses and authorities said Gotbaum was screaming "I’m not a terrorist" at the time of her arrest.