Man dies after ingesting bag of white powder during traffic stop

Jun 20, 2018

A man died while in the custody of Buffalo police Tuesday night after swallowing a bag of white powder during a traffic stop.

The incident happened just after 9 p.m. at North Oak and Tupper streets. The 47-year-old driver ingested the bag during the course of the investigation. He was taken by ambulance to ECMC, where he later died.

Deputy police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says it is yet to be determined whether the officers involved will be placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

"That's something that we'll address at the command level. We're still investigating. This is still very fresh," Gramaglia told reporters.

An autopsy was conducted Wednesday morning. An exact cause of death will be determined by the Erie County medical examiner. A toxicology report will conclude exactly what the substance was.

The Erie County District Attorney's office has been notified of the incident. DA John Flynn said anytime an unarmed individual dies while in police custody, he is required to immediately notify the state attorney general's office, which now has juridiction and will take charge of the investigation.