Investigation underway after man dies while in custody of Stamford police

STAMFORD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Officials are investigating after a man died when Stamford police took him into custody last week and he lost consciousness in the back of a patrol car.

Steven Christopher Barrier was arrested on Oct. 23 -- his 23rd birthday -- after authorities received a 911 call for a domestic violence incident.

Officials said Wednesday that Barrier initially led police on a chase and ran through several backyards and hopped multiple fences before he was ultimately taken into custody at a Home Depot on West Main Street.

Body camera footage from the arrest shows Barrier was taken into custody without incident.

Officers carried him to the patrol car when he indicated he couldn't walk, but on the ride to the department, Barrier was heard asking for the air conditioning to be turned on.

Officers rolled down the windows, but when they went to take Barrier out of the car, they realized he had lost consciousness. They carried him to a holding cell, where for several minutes, multiple officers stood around, unconvinced that he was actually in distress.

He was eventually taken Stamford Hospital but did not regain consciousness and was pronounced dead.

Preliminary findings from an autopsy performed on Barrier later that day showed no evidence of inflicted injuries. The cause and manner of death is pending.

Connecticut State Attorney Richard J. Colangelo, Jr. released the following statement:

"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."


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