PHOENIX (AP) The family of a New York woman who died in police custody at the Phoenix airport sued the city Thursday, accusing officers of using excessive force and contributing to her death.
Police spokesman Joel Tranter wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, but the department has previously rejected claims that it was responsible for Carol Anne Gotbaum's death.
Gotbaum, the step-daughter-in-law of New York City's public advocate, died Sept. 28 in a police holding cell at Sky Harbor International Airport after being arrested for disorderly conduct. She was on her way by herself from New York to enter an alcohol treatment center in Tucson.
An autopsy report released by the Maricopa County medical examiner's office concluded that Gotbaum accidentally hanged herself on her shackles while in the holding cell. The report said intoxication from alcohol and prescription drugs were contributing factors.
The lawsuit filed by Gotbaum's family claims officers failed to follow department policies that would have kept her safe.