Disturbing video released by New York prosecutors showed a man bursting into flames after being tasered by cops in police custody. The man poured hand sanitizer onto himself before being tasered by the cops, who left him clawing at his back and head in a bid to extinguish the fire. The man died six weeks later.
Catskill resident, Jason Jones' interaction with officers at the Catskill Police Department, took an unexpected turn on October 30. He erupted into flames, sustaining severe burns in his upper body after being tasered by cops, after which, he spent six weeks in a medically induced coma.
Jason Jones' died on December 15 at Clark Burn Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse. On Friday, January 7, New York Attorney General Letitia James' office released the footage of the events leading to Jones' death.
In the first video, a visibly agitated Jones was seen pacing in the lobby of the police department. He appeared to say something to two officers but the conversation is not clear as the footage has no audio. The video ended with Jones taking off his sweater and t-shirt, exposing his naked torso.
The second video showed Jones picking a large hand sanitizer container and pouring it over his head and shoulders. One of the officers then aimed his taser at him fired at Jones, who could not be seen in the camera at the moment. A flash of light appeared and he came into the view, with his upper body on fire to the officers' horror.
Jones could be seen burning in flames, trying desperately to put off the fire, while the visibly confused officers left him and ran out of the lobby. As the fire engulfed his head and upper back, Jones collapsed on the floor, trying to extinguish the fire. He burned for about 25 seconds. After the fire went off, Jones' scorching red skin is exposed.
One of the officers observed from afar but didn't offer assistance. The other officer, who tasered him walked back into the lobby and appeared to grab his hands. Another person, whose identity is not clear and their face is blurred in the video, came forward and put their hand around Jones in a bid to comfort him.
Jones is then wheeled out of the lobby onto a gurney to the hospital in handcuffs. He was conscious throughout the ordeal. An official cause of death is yet to be established awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Police Chief Dave Darling said that the incident is under investigation by the Greene County district attorney's office. The Office of Special Investigations took over the investigation after Jones' death, as New York rules automatically set off a special investigation after an officer-involved death.
Jones' attorney has not revealed how did he end up in police custody that day. Chief Darling said that officers were familiar with him from previous encounters and were even possibly afraid he would harm himself.