Statement of Stamford/Norwalk State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr.
The Office of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Stamford/Norwalk is investigating the death of a Stamford man who died after being taken into custody by the Stamford Police on October 23, 2019.
According to the preliminary investigation, at 11:40:53 p.m., the Stamford Emergency Dispatch Center received a 911 call regarding a domestic violence incident involving Steven Christopher Barrier (Date of Birth: 10/23/1996), at a residence in Stamford. (The audio recording is being released without the victim’s name as that is protected by statute). Upon arrival the police determined that Mr. Barrier was not at the residence. As part of procedure with domestic violence incidents, a safety plan was discussed with Barrier’s family, including instructions to contact the dispatch center should he return to the home.
At 1:24:33 a.m., one hour and forty-three minutes after the initial call, contact was made via 911 text message feature to the dispatch center that Mr. Barrier had returned to the residence. As the individual was communicating with dispatch, patrol units began to respond back to 113 West Ave. As officers were responding, Mr. Barrier again fled the residence with patrol units chasing him on foot. Mr. Barrier ran through several backyards, hopping fences heading in a southwest direction and ultimately onto the property of Home Depot, located at 1925 West Main St.
Body worn camera video shows the police taking Mr. Barrier into custody without incident. Mr. Barrier is asked to walk to the police car and he responds that he is tired. The police carry him to a patrol car and the officer asks if he is going to the hospital or the police department, he is told by officers to go to the police department. On the ride to the department, Mr. Barrier is heard asking for the air conditioning to be turned on. At this time the officer rolls down the windows. When the officers take Mr. Barrier out of the patrol car they determine that Mr. Barrier has lost consciousness. The officers carry him to a holding area and request medical assistance. EMS arrives five minutes and thirty seconds from the time Mr. Barrier is removed from the patrol car. EMS renders medical aid and transports Mr. Barrier to Stamford Hospital where Mr. Barrier receives medical treatment. He does not regain consciousness and is pronounced deceased at 3:10 a.m.
An autopsy was performed on Mr. Barrier on 10/23/2019 at 9:15 a.m. 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.
Connecticut General Statutes Section 51-277a requires that whenever an individual dies as a result of the use of force by a police officer, the investigation into the use of such force must be assigned to a State’s Attorney for a Judicial District other than where the incident occurred. In that there is no indication of any firearm use, Taser use, pepper spray use, or physical blows occurring in this incident, the investigation will be conducted by State’s Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr.
State’s Attorney Colangelo said:
“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.”
“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.”
Future updates will occur when deemed appropriate due to the investigation and in the public interest.