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Prosecutor: Stamford man in police custody died from heart disease

STAMFORD (AP) — A Connecticut man who lost consciousness after being taken into police custody on his 23rd birthday died from coronary artery disease and his death was natural, the state's top prosecutor said Thursday.

Chief State's Attorney Richard Colangelo Jr. also said a review of data from Stamford police stun guns showed none were used on Steven Barrier before he became unresponsive in a police cruiser in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2019.

Police detained Barrier after a foot chase in response to a report by a relative who accused him of domestic violence.

Barrier was unconscious when police went to take him out of the cruiser, officials said. The officers called in paramedics, who arrived about five minutes later, Colangelo said.

Chief Medical Examiner James Gill had previously told the Stamford Advocate that Barrier died of a heart attack, and bipolar disorder with psychotic features was a contributing factor.

“I have reviewed all of the police reports, body worn camera video, investigative reports and medical records," Colangelo said in a statement. “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."

Barrier's relatives have blamed police for his death, disputing it was natural.

 

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