Crime - Sacto 911

Sheriff’s Office investigating man’s death after Woodland police used stun gun

The Yolo County Sheriff's Office will conduct an investigation into the death of a man after Woodland police used a stun gun to gain control of him.

The man was identified by the Yolo County Coroner’s Office as 30-year-old Michael Anthony Barrera of Woodland. He died in handcuffs after police detained him Feb. 8 on suspicion of exposing himself to people at a Woodland apartment complex and later charging at police officers with a golf club.

The city of Woodland issued a news release Wednesday stating, “The city offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Barrera as they process the emotional trauma of the loss of a loved one. We also understand that the circumstances that led to Mr. Barrera’s passing may raise concerns and questions regarding police officer actions when they are called upon to protect public safety.”

In addition to the investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, the news release said the Police Department is conducting an internal investigation to “evaluate the incident under applicable department policies and guidelines, consistent with the law enforcement and crisis management training undertaken by our officers.”

Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto, in a news release following an autopsy of Barrera’s body last week, said, “No obvious physical injuries that would have contributed to the death were observed.” The cause of death had not been determined pending toxicology reports, the news release said.

Officers went to an apartment complex in the 1100 block of Matmor Road, near Highway 113 and East Gibson Road, about 12:15 p.m. regarding 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.

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

When officers located Barrera, he was acting erratically and swinging the golf club around, according to a Police Department news release They told Barrera several times to put down the golf club and tried to negotiate with him before he charged officers, who then used a Taser to gain control of him, police said.

Police reported that one officer was injured during the incident.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy