The attorney for the family of a man who died in Stamford police custody claims that the man was denied medical care that could have saved his life, and is calling for an emergency meeting of the Stamford Board of Representatives to review how police handled the incident.
The family of Steven Barrier has hired attorney Ben Crump, a well-known civil rights attorney who worked on the cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
Stamford police said Barrier was being held after a domestic dispute with his mother went into medical distress and died at the hospital.
In a letter to the Stamford Board of Representatives, Crump, the Stamford NAACP and Connecticut ACLU denounced Barrier’s treatment and suggested his death was preventable.
“The arresting officers were aware of Steven’s medical condition, yet they acted with callous disregard to his well-being by refusing to take him to the hospital – a hospital they almost certainly passed on the way to the police station- and then mocking Steven by joking that he deserved an Oscar for faking his injury as he lie dying without anyone rendering aid for several minutes,” the letter reads.
The letter called for an emergency meeting of the Board to address the situation and discuss Stamford Police Department policies.
“Specifically, we demand that the Board question the Chief of Police on the detail of events and conduct of the police officers that transpired prior to and following Steven Barrier being taken into custody and determine whether the conduct and actions of the police complied with all relevant Department policies, protocols, and practices,” it says in the letter.
See the full letter below.
Stamford Police have said they responded to a report of a domestic dispute involving a mother and her 23-year-old son around 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22.
When they arrived, they found the mother, who police said was the victim in the dispute, but the son had fled. Police secured an arrest warrant for the son on domestic violence charges.
According to police, the son returned home around 1:24 a.m. and the victim called 911. Officers responded and found the suspect hiding in a wooded area. He was taken to the Stamford Police Department, where he went into medical distress.
Despite emergency treatment from the Stamford Police Department and EMS, the suspect died at Stamford Hospital. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine cause of death.
A statement from the Office of the State’s Attorney said police body cameras show police taking Barrier into custody without incident, then he was asked to walk to the police car and said he was tired.
Police carried him to a patrol car and the officer asked if he is going to the hospital or the police department and officers said to go to the police department, according to the state’s attorney.
On the ride to the department, Barrier asked for the air conditioning to be turned on and an officer rolled down the windows.
When Barrier was taken out of the out the patrol car, he had lost consciousness and officers carried him to a holding area and requested medical assistance, according to a statement from the state’s attorney.
EMS arrived minutes later, provided aid and transported Barrier to Stamford Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 3:10 a.m.
An autopsy was performed and the medical examiner’s preliminary findings indicate that there is no evidence of inflicted injuries and that the cause and manner of death is pending further study, according to the office of the state’s attorney.