A local minister vowed Saturday to investigate the death of a man who police said ingested narcotics during an arrest attempt in Baltimore and later died at a nearby hospital.

"There are some sharp differences between the accounts of the eyewitnesses and what we're hearing from the police," said the Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, local leader of the Southern Leadership Christian Conference.

At about 7:20 p.m. Friday, officers were attempting to arrest a 46-year-old man for a narcotics offense near the intersection of East Biddle Street and North Montford Avenue, when the man consumed drugs, said Detective Donny Moses, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.

The man was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Moses said. Police have not released his name.

The death is under investigation by police, and they are awaiting autopsy results to confirm the cause of death, Moses said. He did not know what substance the man allegedly consumed during the arrest attempt.

Witherspoon said he has visited the victim's family and the spot where he died. He declined to identify the man.

"We have tremendous concerns about what took place," Witherspoon said, adding that he would not characterize them until he has more information.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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