Crime - Sacto 911

Man who died in Woodland police custody identified

The man who died after he was hit with a stun gun by Woodland police Wednesday afternoon was identified by the Yolo County Coroner’s Office as Michael Anthony Barrera, 30, of Woodland.

Barrera died in handcuffs after officers detained him on suspicion of exposing himself to people in a Woodland apartment complex and later charging at police officers with a golf club.

“No obvious physical injuries that would have contributed to the death were observed,” Sheriff Ed Prieto said in a news release Thursday following an autopsy of Barrera’s body. The cause of Barrera’s death has not been determined and is waiting on toxicology reports, the news release said.

Barrera injured one of the officers who responded, the Woodland Police Department said in a news release that day. Lt. Anthony Cucchi said Thursday that the officer was not in a hospital.

“When he was attacked, the suspect struck him around his face and eyes,” Cucchi said.

Officers went to an apartment complex in the 1100 block of Matmor Road, near Highway 113 and East Gibson Road, at about 12:15 p.m. in response to reports of a man wearing a trench coat over a towel and exposing himself to people. A witness said he was carrying a pair of scissors and a chef’s knife.

An additional caller later told dispatchers that the man was a few blocks south near the 1300 block of Coolidge Place holding a large knife and a golf club. A witness said the man was trying to break into cars.

Officers located Barrera, who was described in the news release as “acting erratically and swinging the golf club around,” on Garfield Place, one block south of Coolidge Place. They told Barrera several times to put down the golf club and tried to negotiate with him before he charged at officers, police said.

“Officers used a Taser to gain control of the subject,” the news release said. “The subject was handcuffed and soon after officers discovered the subject was not breathing and began CPR, as well as calling for emergency medical assistance.”

Barrera was pronounced dead at Woodland Memorial Hospital later that day.

Cucchi said three officers initially made contact with Barrera, with the number increasing as additional police arrived. Only one officer used a Taser, he said.

Seven officers have been put on administrative leave, in accordance with department policies.

Cucchi said Barrera was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 2006. Other incidents involving alcohol and theft were indicated in Barrera’s criminal history, Cucchi said.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets