Videos released by the New York attorney general’s office Friday show a man engulfed in flames after a police officer used a Taser on him. Jason Jones, 29, later died at a New York hospital.
The first of two videos dated October 30, 2021, begins with Jones and three officers are in the lobby of a police station in Catskill. Jones appears to be upset, ripping his shirt off, throwing a shoe and knocking over a hand sanitizer container.
In the second video, an officer fires his Taser just after Jones had squirted the flammable hand sanitizer onto his head and body. There is a flash of light and Jones’ upper body becomes engulfed in flames for just over 20 seconds. He rolls on the floor to put the flames out, and when he stands, he appears to have burns on his upper body. Medics arrive minutes later.
“Jason was unarmed, in the police station, and not threatening anyone when the police hit him with 50,000 volts of electrical current and he ignited,” Jones’ attorney Kevin Luibrand told CBS News. “Instead of helping Jason, the police ran out the room, shut the door and let him burn.”
Jones spent 48 days in an ICU in Syracuse before he died on December 15, his attorney told CBS affiliate WRGB. His exact cause of death is not clear.
New York Attorney General Letita James confirmed that her office is investigating the incident in accordance with state law, which requires that an investigation be opened into any incident in which law enforcement may have caused the death of a person.
Police Chief Dave Darling said his officers were familiar with Jones from previous encounters and were likely afraid he was going to hurt himself, according to The Associated Press.