I was never satisfied with the explanation given in the New York papers about the deadly fate of Carol Anne Gotbaum:
She was arrested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after getting into a confrontation with gate crews who refused to allow her to board a plane to Tucson, said Sgt. Andy Hill, a Phoenix police spokesman.
A US Airways spokesman said the plane was already preparing to depart when Carol Anne Gotbaum, who was traveling alone, arrived at the gate. She was rebooked on the next flight, but "she became extremely irate, apparently running up and down the gate area," airline spokesman Derek Hanna said yesterday.
Officers handcuffed Gotbaum and took her to the holding cell at the airport, where she kept screaming, authorities said.
Hill said officers in a room next to the cell checked on her about 10 minutes later when she stopped screaming and found her unresponsive.
Hill said it appears Gotbaum may have tried to get out of her handcuffs.
"[She] 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," he said.
The explanation for her asphyxiation never made much sense, particularly for an intelligent woman with an MBA and 3 small children to care for. It does make sense in terms of how society deals with women who don't fit the traditional mold.
Her father-in-law was Victor Gotbaum, a retired leader who served for 22 years as president of AFSCME District Council 37, New York’s largest public employee union.
I remember Betsy Gotbaum herself very well when she served as public advocate for New York City from 2001-2005. She was a fine civic leader, very concerned with education issues and the fact that a teacher could not make up for the ills visited upon the poorest of the city, which include too little to eat, poor health care, perhaps not a nuclear family with the amenities of the top 1% of the city’s residents. Thank goodness the wealthy are giving back. Without their knowledgeable input about educational policy, where would we be?