Woman dies while in airport security holding cell

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by shecky, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #1
    yikes

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/09302007/news/regionalnews/betsy_in_law_death.htm

    "Manhattan resident Carol Ann Gotbaum, 45, who is married to the stepson of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, died in a Phoenix airport holding cell while in police custody. Phoenix authorities believe she may have died while trying to get out of her handcuffs."

    as if dealing with the entire flying experience did not suck enough already.
     
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    Why "yikes"?
    Woman misses flight, becomes irate, staff gets worried, calls police, detained, she reportedly attempted to break free and ****ed herself in the process.

    Do I believe that she tried to break free? Kind of. Do I believe there is more to this story than the media is giving? Absolutely.
     
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #3
    How the heck do you strangle yourself in cuffs? sounds a lil fishy.
     
  4. shecky thread starter Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #4
    i mean "yikes" in terms of "strangling to death in an airport in phoenix" which sounds like the butt of some bad joke.
     
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #5
    Just because something is improbable doesn't mean it is impossible.

    A friend of ours was renovating a deck, he somehow managed to fall and impale himself on a crowbar -- and staggered to the neighbour's house with a crowbar entering one side of his neck, and exiting the other. They called the paramedics and he lived. That's a billion to one shot of a) catching the crowbar just right to drive it through one's neck, 2) not hitting the vital arteries, veins or windpipe while doing so, and 3) being able to go get help.

    You couldn't imagine it could be possible, but it indeed did happen.
     
  6. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #6
    "It appeared as though Ms. 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," Hill said

    Regardless of how, not smart can some times = dead. Having missed a connection or two (one as the plane was backing out of the gate), I can understand an initial, heated exchange, but why she was not able to calm herself down is still unanswered. And in Phoenix, alone? Lots of things left to speculation 'til it comes out. Never mind that Homeland Security sometimes has the discernment of an amoeba.
     
  7. SteveG4Cube macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Obviously you have to use judgement when dealing with people of "authority", but TSA employees are some of the most power abusive, power tripping idiots I've ever encountered. I travel frequently for work and I've witnessed some serious streching of authority.

    The most recent thing I saw was an older woman travelling alone who didn't have her items in the proper zip-lock bag (the actual items were fine, just the bag was incorrect). She had a clear plastic bag that she had gone through security with at another airport with no issues, but the agent at this airport decided to single her out. Instead of letting her through or offering her an acceptable bag to substitute, they berated her, talking down to her as if she was a 3 year old, until she was sitting on the ground bawling.

    Then they got more arrogant and told her she can either throw everything out (probably $100 in make-up and stuff) or go back out and have them pull her checked luggage and put it in there (probably missing her flight in the process). I would've offered to let her borrow my zip-lock bag but I was afraid they might think I was conspiring with her or something. :rolleyes:

    Bottom line is plan ahead, expect the worst, and if you're late for a flight or whatever don't expect any sympathy from the minimum wage drones that have been given the task of keeping us safe in the air.
     
  8. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #8
    As another fellow frequent flyer, I have to purposefully and intentionally take the "relax and prepare for whatever scenario" while traveling. Arrive late? Lower your expectations that it's going to go your way. Arrive early? Lower your expectations that it's going to go your way. TSA will not disappoint.
     
  9. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #9
    I find that's the most chilling part of your post. That you were actually afraid to give an innocent crying woman a cheap clear plastic bag that would have helped her and solved her problems, for fear that the guards would start picking on you too.

    I'm not blaming you in particular, I just find this a horrible portent of things to come.
     
  10. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #10
    Yeah, if I had to sit in the Phoenix airport for that long I'd try to kill myself too.
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #11
    I personally am more bothered by the idea that the rules should be stretched or altered for some classes of people. No one should be berated. But it is equally not right to expect the TSA to ignore the rules when it comes to someone you personally think falls in a "low risk" category because of their ethnicity, age, sex, etc.

    I've always dealt nicely, for what it's worth, with TSA, and never really had bad experiences with them. Including twice when I screwed up on the rules (once for scissors or something I had in my toiletry kit and once for forgetting to unpack my notebook computer). After 9/11, I did have a bad experience being refused carryon luggage under suspicious circumstances (the luggage was clearly within acceptable specifications and others were allowed carry-ons, including larger ones on the same flight). But that was by the airline and not TSA.

    I'm not saying they can't get power-trippy. But there's a difference between calling them power trippy and carrying the expectation that they'll bend the rules whenever you expect them to.
     
  12. SteveG4Cube macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Believe me, it was a chilling situation. Others were standing around trying to help, and the TSA official was starting to yell at people who were trying to comfort her and telling them to mind their own business. I seriously don't think they would have let her accept another person's bag anyway. They were more about punishing her and making an example for not following the rules to the letter than allowing her to correct the problem.

    No one's saying they should bend the rules, but how they handle situations makes a difference. They could've been nice about it and done their best to help the lady stay calm (I understand the value of her items but I'd think they were all easily replaceable). Not to mention that alot of people aren't frequent travellers and may not know about the zip-lock bag rule. You'd think they'd keep some handy for people to use. If they insist on you putting that crap in a bag, why not provide it? They give you a bin to put stuff in. Maybe we should all have to bring our own bins next.
     
  13. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Denver
    #13
    Or, and here's crazy idea, they could not engage in CYA Security Theater and treat travellers like human beings instead of criminals.

    Of course this will never, ever happen. Welcome to the Brave New World, where the state of your footwear and the arbitrary size of a ziploc baggie can get you blacklisted.

    stupid ****ing piece of **** *******s. Airports piss me off more than just about anything.
     
  14. kasei macrumors 6502a

    kasei

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    #14
    I flew in and out of Phoenix airport for two years working on my MBA. The stories I could tell about the TSA there would give you the chills. Thank God I was able to upgrade to business class and bypass all of that crap. Now LAX... multiply the crazy factor by 10. I agree with and earlier post. Arrive late don't expect things to go your way, arrive early don't expect things to go your way. Especially when you are flying out of LAX and the flight is international.
     
  15. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #15
    Of course I agree she could be a bomb-carrying whitehaired old lady. But there are rules that make sense, and then there are damn stupid rules, and we all have a duty to protest against damn stupid rules.

    Including rules that say you can't be told what the rules are. That goes against 1000 years of legal building blocks of the rights of people and social justice.

    She was happy to have her things inspected, she offered her things in a plastic bag, and they were blasting her cos it was an inch too large or it didnt have a poxy zip lock or somthing that made no bloody difference to their inspection. They were shouting at her, trying to give her a horrible time, and intimidating anyone who tried to help. That's not on.

    I've flown at european airports, at London airports, I've seen staff standing at the security line, giving out free clear plastic bags to anyone who wanted one, standing next to vending machines that also gave free or cheap clear bags. I've gone through carrying plastic bags that didn't close, that were the wrong size, whatever, but it still let them do their jobs.

    That's ignoring the whole fact that this whole clear plastic bag thing is a complete pile of *****, which has been debunked in several publications as making your flight no safer.
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #16
    I guess I can see where this particular rule has become too complicated for many people. But I'm not sure that the solution is for TSA to spend time giving items out to try to get people through who fail to follow an overly complicated rule, instead of focusing on making sure that travelers are safe. If that's the ultimate issue, I'd just as soon go back to prohibiting liquids in carry-ons.

    I think the TSA has to balance a lot of different demands on them. I'm not totally insensitive to protecting passenger convenience among those needs, because I appreciate when my convenience is abetted also. But to me, civil liberty comes first, safety comes second, and convenience is a relatively minor issue. And so, from my perspective, I think the TSA deserves more respect and cooperation from passengers.
     
  17. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #17
    Most US airports are also more than happy to hand out a free (and correctly sized) bag as well. They don't allow the wrong sizes/types of bags but they're almost always happy to give them out.
     
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #18
    Yeah, but if your hands are cuffed behind your back and you want to get your hands in front of you, how the hell do they end up around your neck? I'm not jumping to the conclusion that she got murdered, but I'm just trying to figure out how this would happen. AFAIK your only option is to go "down low" and pull your hands past your feet but that puts the cuffs no where near your neck.:confused:


    Lethal
     
  19. Spikeanator6982 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2007
    #19
    well..unless she was flexable enough or double jointed and could rotate her arms backwords enough to go up over her head..but then couldnt do anything after that and she could get them back over either..idk..
     
  20. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

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    #20
    And Phoenix provides these bags for free as well. There's a large bin with a huge sign at the entrance to the security line.

    Unfortunately, about half the time I've gone through the line, the bin was empty. :rolleyes:
     
  21. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #21
    A smilie-con would not be appropriate at the moment and in context of the thread, but you make a valid point.
     
  22. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #23
    It says she was shackled to a bench.

    Perhaps she fell off while still handcuffed, and couldn't breathe due to her position, or got a chain around her neck.

    I still suspect foul play - maybe a guard was fed up of her shouting.

    Note now they're saying they rebooked her on the next flight. They didn't say that before.

    Was her rehab appointment a once-only shot i.e. turn up late and they won't let you in? I know nothing about rehab, but I suspect they're quite flexible about what time you turn up considering their target audience.
     
  23. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    #24
    How this turned into a discussion about the TSA, I have no idea. It was gate personnel and PHX PD. TSA didn't appear to have any part of it.

    Anyway, considering the comments and POVs, I figure, what the hell, might as well throw a little gas on the easily offended fires on the intertubes. I'm in a snarky mood.

    As a 120-150 segment per year flier based in PHX (and avoiding Terminal 4 like the plague!), and seeing most hub & secondary airports in the country during the year, I can attest to two things.

    1) The TSA, like most large, bureaucratic organizations, is staffed by predominately good folks, honestly trying to do a job that puts them below used car salespeople and politicians on any most-admired list. The small minority that are unmitigated pinheads (and I think I've met most of them by now) are thankfully being slowly weeded out or relegated to behind-the-scenes baggage inspection.

    I have learned that just following the simple (and yes, sometimes asinine) rules and maintaining a good cheer speed me through quickly and with no problems, and may actually ease the journey of the folks behind me, if I can put the TSA agent in a better mood. Customer service works in both directions. Bottom line here, it's the world we've got, so we better learn where the cheese got moved to, else we go hungry and handcuffed into the night.

    2) The overwhelming majority of the traveling public don't have the sense to come out of the rain, much less navigate a major airport. Actually, they cause more headaches than the TSA does. I try to help when I can (and so does the TSA most times, along with everyone that works there), but when 90%-plus of the people jammed in the terminal are clueless--and bearing an insufferable sense of entitlement--well, tempers will flare.

    As far as the luckless lass that expired, time will tell, and the truth will be known. Up to the point of her death, it's all on her. To the precise, factual cause and nature of said death, we'll find out over the next few weeks, I'm sure. Dying in PHX PD custody is generally cause for a major investigative effort by the local media, as a number of previous incidents have been less than proper or the decedent's fault.

    Just remember, one may have a right to travel freely in the US, but the mode of travel is not.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #25
    The earlier reports made no mention of that, but that makes more sense now of how it could've happened.


    Lethal
     

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