New York Attorney General Letitia James released two videos Friday of a 29-year-old man who poured hand sanitizer over himself and then burst into flames after being shot by police with a Taser, later dying from his injuries.
The man, identified as Catskill resident Jason Jones, entered the Catskill police station on Oct. 30, 2021, after a domestic disturbance at the Avalon Lounge bar in the center of the village, about 400 feet away from the police station, according to the Albany Times Union newspaper.
Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione told the publication that Jones walked from the bar to the station and argued with officers there.
In the videos, Jones removes his shirt and eventually douses himself with hand sanitizer.
Shortly after that, one of three officers surrounding Jones used his Taser, and Jones' upper body and head caught fire.
Two of the officers ran inside the station through a lobby door, and a third officer is seen behind one of the lobby walls as Jones tries to extinguish the flames with his hands.
One of the officers then returns to the lobby from inside the station and provides aid to Jones, the video shows.
Jones was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where he spent 47 days on a ventilator before dying Dec. 15, 2021, according to a press release from the attorney general's office.
New York law requires deaths involving police officers to be investigated by the Office of Special Investigations.
''The release of this footage is not an expression of any opinion as to the guilt or innocence of any party in a criminal matter or any opinion as to how or whether any individual may be charged with a crime,'' the release said.
The attorney for the family criticized police for using the Taser on Jones, causing the fire.
''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,'' Kevin A. Luibrand, who is representing Jones' family, told the Times Union in response to the release of the videos. ''Instead of helping Jason, the police ran out the room, shut the door and let him burn.''
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