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Buffalo man dies after encounter with police

Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 20:45:35-05

A 20-year-old Buffalo man died early Wednesday morning after being taken into police custody.  The Buffalo Police Department said officers were arresting the man when it became clear "he was suffering from some type of medical distress".

The incident happened shortly after midnight at the corner of West Ferry and Hoyt Streets on the city's West Side.

Wardel Davis was only a few blocks from where he lives on Putnam Street when police stopped him.

According to police, officers were investigating suspicious activity in the area when they questioned Davis.

"While officers were questioning the suspect, the suspect did attempt to flee from officers," said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo with the BPD.  "A short foot chase ensued.  When officers caught up to the suspect, a struggle ensued taking that suspect into custody."

Rinaldo would not say why Davis was stopped by officers.  The suspect was taken to Buffalo General where he was pronounced dead.

The BPD's homicide and internal affairs departments have both launched investigations into the incident.  The two officers involved have been placed on paid leave.

The Attorney General's office issued the following statement, The Attorney General’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit has opened an investigation into the death of Wardel Davis, pursuant to the Attorney General’s authority under Executive Order No. 147.”

The BPD is waiting for more information from an autopsy being conducted by the Erie County medical examiner.