Surveillance video image of Phoenix airport police restraining Carol Gotbaum

Six months after Carol Gotbaum died in police custody at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport, her family has filed an $8 million notice of claim against the city of Phoenix, saying "members of the Phoenix Police Department used excessive and unreasonable force on Carol, as if she was a dangerous criminal, rather than as the sick, intoxicated and vulnerable person she was."

Gotbaum, married to Noah Gotbaum, stepson of NYC Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, was traveling alone to check into alcohol rehab. When she missed her connection to Tucson, she became upset and disruptive, and the Phoenix police took her into custody. She was found dead in her holding cell, with a chain wrapped around her neck. Phoenix officials issued a sharp letter, written by city attorney Stephen Craig, blaming Noah Gotbaum:

"The thrust of the Gotbaum family claim is that the City of Phoenix police officers should have been more supportive than Carol's own husband, more knowledgeable than her own family, and should somehow have known that she suffered from a private condition that she deliberately hid from the public...

...But the Gotbaum family has publicly admitted, not only that Carol hid her medical and mental condition, but that the officers responded to Carol exactly the way her husband knew they would respond because they did not have critical information known only to the Gotbaum family...

So, with Carol reportedly screaming her hatred of 'American cops,' the Gotbaum family believes that these same hated officers should have put their arms around her shoulders ... and given her some attention. One would ordinarily expect that role to fall to a spouse. But Carol was alone."

Noah Gotbaum had called the airport and unsuccessfully tried to get in touch with authorities to let them know his wife was troubled. An autopsy found Gotbaum's death to be an accident, finding her blood alcohol to be 0.24, three times the legal limit and police have released over 200 pages of documents related to the incident.