A group of New Jersey cops are now under investigation after a bystander filming with his cellphone caught them kicking and beating an innocent man who had been set on fire by a car that crashed while eluding police capture.
The intense video, filmed on Sunday in Jersey City at around 11:00 pm, shows the 28-year-old victim emerging from a car that had quickly turned into a blazing inferno. As the cameraman begs officers to help, they instead draw their weapons, surround the burning man, and begin kicking him. They eventually drag him away from the fire and onto the street.
While the victim has not yet been identified, a friend of his claimed that he suffered from severe burns and is now clinging to life at a nearby hospital. The offending officers have not been identified yet, either, but Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced that all officers will be immediately terminated and possibly prosecuted.
“This is unacceptable. We’re IDing officers,” Fulop wrote on Twitter. “We’ll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate.”
The cops in question were chasing 48-year-old Leo Pinkston, who was subjected to a traffic stop nearby but drove away as an officer approached his vehicle. Police claim that he erratically drove away and got into a minor collision, forcing officers to fire gunshots that caused Pinkston to slam the vehicle into a utility pole.
The innocent bystander was also driving down the street at the time and simply found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez revealed.
“Our investigators have reviewed the video and we believe with certainty that this man is the bystander from West New York who suffered burns, not Leo Pinkston, the individual pursued by police,” she told NJ.com.