The video is, at best, disturbing. The Attorney General's Office is releasing video of the incident on October 30, 2021 when 29-year-old Jason Jones burst into flames after being tasered at the Catskill Police Department.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: A link to the video appears below. The reader is advised that the video contains images that may be difficult to watch. There are also photos included in this post that may be difficult to see. Reader discretion is strongly advised.]
The Attorney General's Office took over the investigation after being initiated by the Greene County District Attorney's Office. A written statement reads as follows: "The release of this footage follows Attorney General James’ directive that videos obtained by her office in the course of investigations conducted by the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) be released to the public in order to increase transparency and strengthen public trust in these matters."
Jones, who was described by family and friends as a decorated athlete at Catskill High School in his youth, was listed as being in "grave" condition at the hospital, where he was taken soon after the incident.
Previous reports indicated that Jones doused himself with hand sanitizer prior to being tasered. Although the video comes with a disclaimer from the Attorney General's Office that "(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" it does appear easily visible from the camera that Jones applied the liquid to the back of his head and back. However, it is not known if the officers involved had the same vantage point and whether they were able to see Jones' actions at the time.
The screenshots below are offered for the reader's analysis alone, with no opinions provided. Comments and descriptions are those of a layman, and not a expert. The reader should note that the perspective seen from the camera angle is, for the most part, from the opposite side of the physical viewpoint of the officers in the video.
Jones is out of the view of the camera angle provided at the critical moment when the taser is fired.
Officers are then seen moving toward Jones and then rapidly backing away as a glow appears on the screen.
Fewer than six seconds transpire between the time that the taser was deployed and the officers are seen backing away from Jones.
The Office of Special Investigations must, by law, investigate every incident where a police officer or peace officers causes the death of a person. This includes cases where the officer is off-duty as well as on-duty, and is not dependent on whether the person who died is armed or unarmed, in custody or not in custody.
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