State's Attorney to Investigate Death of Man in Stamford Police Custody

The Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk is investigating the death of a man when he was in Stamford Police custody on Oct. 23.

Stamford police say a suspect being held after a domestic dispute with his mother went into medical distress and died at the hospital.

Police 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.

The Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk identified the man as Steven Christopher Barrier.

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.

State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo Jr. will investigate.

“We extend our condolences to Mr. Barrier’s family on their tragic loss. The State’s Attorney’s Office has been in contact with the family to assure that they are kept aware of the investigation. I have shared the body worn camera video with the family and it was understandably upsetting to them. They have agreed with me that some of the video should be released at this time. In the interest of transparency, I am releasing the recording of the initial 911 call and the body camera video specific to the incident under investigation. There is no evidence of Taser use by any Stamford Police officer. This is consistent with the findings of the Medical Examiner and we will wait for further information from them,” Colangelo said in a statement.

“It is my intent to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to determine what caused Mr. Barrier’s death. In determining what information will be released and when, I will balance the needs of the investigation with the public’s right to know what happened. I will also be cognizant of the family and try not to disclose any medical information without their consent,” he added.

Contact Us