Press Releases

The Division of Criminal Justice is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters in the State of Connecticut.


Statement on the Death of Steven Barrier

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 concluded its investigation into the death of a Stamford man who died after being taken into custody by the Stamford Police on October 23, 2019.

The investigation showed that on October 22nd 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 was 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 October 23, 2019, at 9:15 a.m. The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease and the manner of death to be Natural. There was no evidence of inflicted injuries found by the medical examiner.  In deference to Mr. Barrier’s family I will not include any additional medical information.

There was a concern that a Taser was deployed on October 23, 2019.  While there was no evidence of a Taser injury to Mr. Barrier, or any evidence that a Taser was deployed, I requested an analysis of the Tasers deployed to all of the officers working the night of the 23rd.  All of the Tasers were downloaded and all reports confirm that no Tasers were deployed. 

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 was no indication of any firearm use, Taser use, pepper spray use, or physical blows occurring in this incident, the investigation was 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 the public.  I received the final autopsy report on January 3, 2020.  I have reviewed all of the police reports, body worn camera video, investigative reports and medical records.  There is no evidence that there was any force used to take Mr. Barrier into custody and his death was the result of natural causes.  I will not be releasing any additional footage as it includes medical treatment of Mr. Barrier. “