The spark from the taser ignited the alcohol solution he had just sprayed over himself.
The New York Attorney General has released video footage of the moment a man was set on fire by tasers at a police station.
The disturbing incident took place at the Catskill Police Department on October 30th. The man in the video, 29-year-old Jason Jones, would die of his injuries after six weeks in a medically induced coma.
On Friday, NY AG Letitia James revealed the horrific security tapes as part of the investigation into his death.
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The tapes show how Jones interacts with three police officers in the station’s front lobby, who seem agitated; the videos have no sound and police have not yet revealed what he was doing there.
After about 18 minutes, Jones empties his pockets, takes off his top and then rips off his shirt while continuing to stomp around the lobby. However, he never appears to physically threaten the officers; in return, the officers seem patient with his increasingly bizarre behavior.
After about 31 minutes, things take an even more bizarre turn as Jones takes a large bottle of rubbing alcohol and starts spraying it all over himself. This seems to be the drop for the officers as one unpacks his bags and directs it at him while the other two surround and close in on him. Jones backs up outside the camera’s sight.
Then the officer shoots. They move towards him, still out of sight of the camera – when a sudden flash sends them all on the run for their lives.
Jones stumbles back into the frame, completely engulfed in flames, and the spark from the taser has apparently ignited the alcohol in the hand sanitizer stroking all over his skin.
As he slaps around the floor in pain, on fire for a full 20 seconds, it seems the officers are doing nothing to try to help, they are fleeing the room instead.
Jones desperately tries to put out the flames on his head, but it looks like he’s spreading the fuel.
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Eventually – and only when the flames are completely extinguished – the officers run in again to try to provide help.
Jones appears to be asking the officers for help on his knees, but they only push him away. A fourth officer enters the scene giving the desperate man a hug. A stretcher is eventually rolled in and he is handcuffed to the hospital.
Jones died on December 15th. He was taken from lifesaving after spending six weeks in a coma at the Clark Burn Center at SUNY Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse.
According to James, the Office of Special Investigation was forced to step in, as is the case when a police officer “may have caused a person’s death by an act or omission.”
“By law, the officer can be on guard or without guard, and the deceased can be armed or unarmed. The deceased can also be remanded in custody or incarcerated,” she said in a statement.
“If OSI’s assessment indicates that an officer caused the death, OSI will continue to conduct a full investigation into the incident.”
The video, she said, was released to the public “to increase transparency and strengthen public confidence in these issues.”
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