Local News

SBI Investigates Fayetteville Police's Role In Deaths Of 2 Men

Posted November 4, 2005

— The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the role that the Fayetteville Police Department played in the deaths of two men on Thursday.

Investigators are trying to determine why a man died while in the custody of Fayetteville police on Thursday morning.

An official with the Fayetteville Police Department said 24-year-old Jamal Davis fled on foot after he was pulled over for a traffic stop early Thursday.

Officers apprehended Davis without using force, police said. He was handcuffed, placed into a patrol car and transported to the Cumberland County Detention Center.

While at the detention center, police said, the suspect required emergency medical assistance and was transported to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

He was pronounced dead at 6:55 a.m. Thursday. Police said the cause of death is not known.

Also on Thursday, a man who was shot by a Fayetteville police officer during a routine traffic stop died.

Jamie Smith, a spokeswoman with the department, said Officer Bart Suggs pulled over Calvin Wilson during a routine traffic stop at about 4 p.m. on Seneca Drive.

Smith said Suggs noticed Wilson had a weapon as he approached the car.

"When he approached the vehicle, the driver had a weapon and the officer warned him many times," Smith said. "And after many warnings, shots were fired and the suspect was taken to the hospital, where he later passed away."

Police described Suggs as a veteran officer who has been in difficult situations before.

But Laurie Reed said she witnessed the entire incident, and she said she "didn't see [Wilson] do anything that he shouldn't have been doing."

She added: "I know [the police] have their job, but you can't stop people because of their gender or the way their hair is, their clothes, and it seems like the young black males are always getting it."

Fayetteville police said they are looking into both cases, but it is too early to tell whether they need to change department policy.

"Right now, they're just concentrating on the investigation that's at hand," Smith said.

She said Fayetteville police have no reason to believe there is a bigger problem.

A national board just approved the department's policies, including rules on the use of force.

Fayetteville police officials added that they don't deal with situations like these often.

In 2003, police shot two suspects during drug busts, and both suspects survived.

In 2004, an officer shot a man who was burning leaves. They said the man, who survived, threatened firefighters.

None of the officers involved in Thursday's incidents had problems in the past. They all have clean records.

Per department policy, the three officers involved in both incidents have been placed on administrative duty.


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