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Lawsuit filed against Catskill police in 2021 Taser death

Jan 24, 2023 1:00 am

Brendan J. Lyons reports for the Times Union that. the estate of the late Jason Jones, the man who died more than a year ago after he was set on fire when a police officer fired a Taser at him, has taken legal action against the village of Catskill. Justin Jones filed a federal lawsuit on January 20, against the village of Catskill, as well as police officers Mark Nazi, who fired the Taser, Daniel Goldpaugh and Nicholas Craig, alleging Jason's civil rights were violated. Nazi, Goldpaugh, and Craig were all accused of using excessive force, failing to follow their training, and running away rather than coming to Jones' aid as he burned in the lobby of the village police station in October 2021. Goldpaugh and Craig are also accused of failing to stop Nazi from discharging his Taser in a way believed to be in violation of their training. "Jason was burned to death solely through unnecessary and excessive force by Catskill police in their own police station," said Kevin A. Luibrand, an attorney representing Jones' family. The state attorney general's office has been investigating the incident for more than a year, but has not yet issued a formal report or filed any charges in the matter. Jason Jones suffered burns to almost 30 percent of his body as well as critical wounds to his lungs. He was transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital following the incident, but later transferred to a burn unit at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where he remained in a coma and on a ventilator until succumbing to his injuries 47 days later. Jones had not been charged with a crime when he walked into the police station on October 30, but he "exhibited signs of emotional distress," according to the lawsuit. He was speaking with the officers in the lobby of the station for about eight minutes before he was shot with a Taser. Jones had doused himself with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer moments before the incident and after emptying his pockets and stripping off his shirt and shoes. The electrodes fired from Nazi's Taser struck his torso and caused him to catch fire. The three officers were captured on a police station video camera running away from Jones after he burst into flames. The encounter between the police officers and Jones, a one-time celebrated athlete at Catskill High School, began when village police responded to a disturbance at the Avalon Lounge located about 400 feet from the police department. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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