Two Buffalo police officers who were arresting Wardel Davis, a 20-year-old unarmed African American man, when he died Feb. 7 will learn today whether they will be charged in connection with the death, law enforcement sources told The Buffalo News.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office has been investigating the death of Davis, based on a 2015 executive order by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo authorizing the AG to be appointed a special prosecutor to handle police-involved deaths of unarmed civilians. Schneiderman will either announce indictments against the officers or, if the officers aren't being charged, will release a report detailing the investigation of the case.
Police said Davis died as he struggled with Officers Todd C. McAlister and Nicholas J. Parisi. No shots were fired during the incident.
The officers have been on paid administrative leave since the Feb. 7 death.
Davis' death, which came amid increasing attention to the deaths of unarmed black men by law enforcement officers around the country, prompted a series of protests in February outside the Buffalo Police Central District office. Demonstrators also interrupted Mayor Byron W. Brown's State of the City speech at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
On Tuesday, in anticipation of the AG's announcement, Black Lives Matter-Buffalo, a coalition of community activists and attorneys, called for the AG's office to prosecute the officers involved in Davis' death.
Last week, Schneiderman's office launched a separate investigation of the Buffalo Police Department's use of traffic checkpoints and enforcement sweeps inside public housing developments in response to a complaint filed by Black Lives Matter-Buffalo. The group linked those practices, which they say unfairly and unconstitutionally targets communities of color, with Davis' death, as well as that of Jose Hernandez-Rossy, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Black Rock in May.