BUFFALO, NY-- The state has been called in to investigate an incident following the death of a man shortly after he was apprehended by Buffalo Police.
Lt. Jeff Rinaldo says police were called to Hoyt Street near West Ferry just before midnight to investigate suspicious activity.
When they arrived, they encountered 20-year-old Wardel Davis, who Rinaldo says attempted to flee.
Officers Nicholas J. Parisi and Todd C. McAlister were able to chase down Davis and place him into custody, according to Rinaldo, who says the officers then realized the Davis was experiencing medical distress.
"Officers removed the handcuffs to render first aid, which included CPR," Rinaldo said.
Davis was transported to Buffalo General Hospital where he later died.
Several people gathered at a makeshift memorial on Hoyt Street Wednesday afternoon, where they said davis was more commonly known in the neighborhood by his street name, "Meech."
The officers involved are currently on administrative leave pending an investigation, which is customary in these types of incidents.
No other information is being released at this time, pending an autopsy.
Due to NYS law, the New York State Attorney General's office will also investigate.
Tom Burton, legal counsel to the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, said Wednesday night that both officers have clean records on the force. He said they are both involved with trying to reduce drug dealing in that neighborhood.
"They have an absolute right to defend themselves," Burton said. "A cop can use reasonable physical force when they are effectuating arrest, especially when somebody is throwing punches and fighting with those officers."
Open Buffalo, a civil rights advocacy group, isn't having it. The group is calling for a revival of Buffalo's Commission on Citizens' Rights and Community Relations, which they say, has several unfilled civilian positions. The group released the following statemen, in partt:
This morning, the “City of Good Neighbors” awakened to the disturbing news that one of our fellow citizens lost his life after an encounter with the Buffalo Police Department on Hoyt Street. Concerned people of Buffalo demand and deserve a swift and painstakingly transparent inquiry into this man’s death.
While Buffalo Police Benevolent Association jumps into action to defend their member officers, it is up to public servants in City Hall, Erie County, and New York state to defend the justice to which every person is entitled. Thousands of Buffalonians, and millions around the world, are watching.