Investigators: Stamford man in custody died of natural causes

Posted: Updated:

Investigators at the State’s Attorney’s Office have concluded that a Stamford man died of natural causes after he was taken into custody on Oct. 23.

The results from the probe come about four months after Steven Barrier died on what was his 23rd birthday.

Chief State's Attorney Rich Colangelo says an autopsy determined Barrier's cause of death was coronary artery disease and there were no inflicted injuries.

Stamford police arrested Barrier after a chase following a 911 call from his sister who accused Barrier of domestic violence.

Colangelo released body camera footage of Barrier's interaction with police in the days afterward. It shows that when police took Barrier into custody, he said he was too tired to walk to the squad car and had to be carried.

The video also shows an officer ask whether they should take Barrier to the hospital or the police department. He was told to take him to the police department. When officers arrived at the station, Barrier was unresponsive.

EMS brought him to Stamford Hospital where he later died.

Barrier's family has questioned why police didn't take him to get medical care right away. They say he was in clear distress and denied the help he needed. Assistant Chief Tom Wuennemann says his heart goes out to the family, but disputes their claims.

Barrier's mother Valerie Jaddo said her son had no history of heart failure and continues to blame police for his death. She told News 12 that police knew her son had mental health issues.

“When these police officers arrived at my house, I told them about my son's medical condition,” says Jaddo.

Chief Wuennemann says that officers were aware of his mental history, but added that he was “functioning member of society.”

“He worked that night. He took public transportation home,” the chief says. “Our hearts go out to them. They called us for help in a domestic violence incident. No one expected their 23-year-old son to die.”

The Stamford branch of the NAACP reacted to the decision by saying it hopes the tragedy will lead to positive change in police operating procedures.

The state's attorney's report also said a review of police stun guns showed none were used during Barrier's arrest.

NAACP rallies for answers in Stamford death of Steven Barrier
Body cam video, 911 audio released in Stamford police custody death case 

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