Video of officers allegedly dragging, kicking man prompts investigation

Posted: Updated:

A video that allegedly shows Jersey City police officers kicking and dragging a man engulfed in flames has prompted an investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office. 

The video appears to show a man trying to extinguish himself after a crash along Tonnelle Avenue on Sunday night. The individual extinguishes the flames, but then the video appears to show officers kicking and stomping him.

The incident started as a traffic stop and turned into a police chase. The suspect in that chase, Leo Pinkston, allegedly fled officers and caused two crashes: one in which he hit a utility pole and another that caused a car to go up in flames. A police union official said the video clearly shows the officers acted quickly to help put out the flames.

The President of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association released the following statement: "As it should be, this entire incident is being fully investigated. Taking swift action isn't always elegant, but this video clearly shows that the officers acted quickly to extinguish the flames and pull this man out of harm's way."

A city spokesperson, however, told the Jersey Journal that they have serious concerns about how officers handled the incident.

"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," the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office said in a written statement. "We will utilize all resources available to the prosecutor's office for a full and thorough investigation as we seek to bring this matter to a rightful conclusion."

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted about the incident Wednesday evening saying, "This is unacceptable. We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination and criminal charges as appropriate."

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