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Protesters gather at police headquarters after AG probe on Wardel Davis death

Protesters — many of them carrying signs and bracing themselves against the cold — began converging just before 5 p.m. Wednesday outside Buffalo Police Department headquarters at the corner of Franklin and Church streets.

Holding signs calling for Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda to fire the two police officers who some protesters believe were culpable in the death of Davis — officers Todd C. McAlister and Nicholas J. Parisi — the roughly 50 protesters paraded around in a circle and chanted.

The event lasted less than an hour.

The protesters gathered in support of 20-year-old Wardel "Meech" Davis from the West Side of Buffalo who died on Feb. 7 in a confrontation with police, after coming out of a house on Hoyt Street. They rallied in opposition to what they allege are unfair practices by police when dealing with African-Americans and other minorities.

AG's Wardel Davis probe clears officers, finds 'real need of reform'

It is such practices, advocates have claimed, that have resulted in the deaths of young men like Davis.

In particular, the protesters outside Buffalo Police headquarters have targeted the police department's Strike Force, consisting of about 20 officers, that was established during Mayor Byron W. Brown's first term in 2005.

Some residents have complained about what they charged were the Strike Force's unfair tactics, along with checkpoints conducted by police in minority neighborhoods across the city.

An investigation conducted by State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's Office, released this week, found the two police officers not culpable in Davis' death.

It was an unsatisfying investigation to Natasha Soto, lead organizer for Just Resisting, one of the organizers of Wednesday's protest.

"I think it's infuriating and enraging that the officers involved in the wrongful death of Meech do not have to comply with the investigation," said Soto, after the protest.

"We hope Commissioner Derenda fires officers McAlister and Parisi," Soto added.


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