Phoenix offers settlement in Sky Harbor airport death case

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Phoenix has proposed a $250,000 settlement to the family of a New York City woman who accidentally strangled herself while in police custody two years ago at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

In a statement Monday, the Phoenix Police Department maintained that its officers acted properly and acknowledged that the proposed settlement is just a fraction of the original $8 million negligence claim sought by Carol Ann Gotbaum's three young children.

City officials say no taxpayer money will be spent on the settlement, which still needs to be approved by a New York court.

Police say the 45-year-old Gotbaum was intoxicated and unruly after missing her connecting flight while on the way to a substance-abuse rehabilitation clinic in Tucson on Sept. 28, 2007.

Authorities say Gotbaum accidentally asphyxiated herself after being chained to a bench in a police holding room after her arrest and officers didn't know she suffered from alcoholism and depression.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)