I Know Who Killed Carol Gotbaum

by The Discovering Alcoholic on August 22, 2008

Gotbaum MurderedThe four police officers responsible for arresting and incarcerated Carol Gotbaum, who died in custody, at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were cleared of all charges and wrongdoing this week by a civil court. Thank goodness these public servants were cleared, now maybe they can get down to doing the serious work to bring her real killer to justice.

Mrs. Gotbaum was arrested for disorderly conduct after missing a flight that had been scheduled to transport her to a treatment center for alcoholism. She died while struggling to escape from her shackles and chains by asphyxiation. Her family had sued Phoenix for $8 million accusing the police of using “excessive and unreasonable force.” While maybe not as high profile, there is a large segment of the population that places the blame on the victim’s family who sent the emotionally and physically unstable Gotbaum off on a stressful trip alone. Neither of these groups can be blamed for her death… but it seems very few are really interested in bringing her actual killer to justice.

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I wish I found it strange that almost all of the blame seems to be directed at the police or the family, but it’s not exactly rare for a society that has always been eager to avoid facing the overwhelming negative influence of its beloved alcohol.

Mrs. Gotbaum’s death, while tragic, does not warrant criminal charges against police officers who were simply trying to carry out their duties. They committed no crime.~ Andrew Thomas, City Atty

A review of the case showed Gotbaum, the 45-year-old daughter-in-law of New York City Public Advocate Betsy and ex-labor leader Victor Gotbaum, accidentally strangled herself, they said. ~NYDailyNews

Carol Anne Gotbaum accidentally asphyxiated herself after being chained to a bench in a police holding room after her Sept. 28 arrest, according to authorities.AP

It’s obvious from the news reports that since neither her family nor the cops can be blamed, then it must be just a “tragic accident”. As if all the talk about alcoholism, rehab, and a tox report that revealed both drugs and alcohol have no relevance in this case.

It was the effects of her disease that brought her to the airport, got her arrested, and led to her demise. Mrs. Gotbaum died of alcoholism, not from a freak event of lethal happenstance… and the sooner we as a society stop avoiding the issue, then the sooner we can began to reduce the number of the tragic “accidents”.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Not one myself but know quite a few June 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Exactly right. I had to laugh at the medical examiner’s report, which is filled with mentions of alcohol and prescription drug toxicity, but somehow, he ends up concluding that it was an “accident”.

And yes, the evidence in the autopsy report is, she was fighting the cuffs and leg irons. I would say, there is enough evidence that she did hang herself on the chain, and not by accident. Alkies hang themselves on shoelaces and cords from window shades. Therefore it is alcoholism, ending in suicide. Isn’t that always the case.


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