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Attorneys call for independent probe into Stamford man's death during police custody

Area attorneys called for an independent investigation Thursday into the case of Steven Barrier, the Stamford man who died in police custody last year.

News 12 Staff

Aug 20, 2020, 6:42 PM

Updated 1,401 days ago

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Area attorneys called for an independent investigation Thursday into the case of Steven Barrier, the Stamford man who died in police custody last year.
Attorneys Darnell Crosland and Tricia Lindsay want an outside agency to look into what happened to Barrier 10 months ago.
The State's Attorney's Office finished up its investigation earlier this year and cleared the officers involved.
"You cannot have the bad actor reporting on the bad actor. It just doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense. We need an independent review of what these police officers did, did not do, and should have done," Lindsay said.
Police were called to Barrier's home on West Avenue on the night of Oct. 23 after an assault complaint by his sister. Barrier ran when police arrived, and they chased him to a Home Depot lot.
After he was caught, Barrier told officers he was unable to walk so they carried him to a patrol car.
When they arrived at the police department, Barrier was unconscious. Officers called for an ambulance, but Barrier later died at the hospital.
An autopsy found the cause of death a heart attack with mental health issues as contributing factors. Barrier's family blames police for not bringing him to the hospital immediately.
"I was told of an inquiry that was made to the FBI and as recently as yesterday, the FBI said we're not going to further investigate this," Shaw said.
Crosland and Lindsay also want changes to how police respond to calls involving people with mental health issues, like Barrier and client Andre Futrell whom they brought to the news brief Thursday.
"The question becomes not if he's going to die at the hands of police but when? the If police continue to be the ones to respond to these mental health crisis, then we're heading down the wrong road," Crosland said.
"I'll respectfully disagree with that statement because he says if things don't change, and I'd like to counter that saying they're already changing," Shaw said.
Shaw says the department now has a weekly meeting with experts in the mental health field and they're working to embed someone with that kind of training on police calls.


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