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Activist group condemns Catskill Village Police

Jan 11, 2022 1:56 pm

The nonprofit activist group Capital Area Relief & Liberation condemned the Catskill Village police after a video was released showing officers shooting a man with a Taser who had just doused himself with hand sanitizer. The video shows Catskill police officers running and hiding instead of helping 29-year-old Jason Jones after they Tasered him and he burst into flames. Jones later died after an extended stay in the burn unit of a Syracuse hospital. The video shows two Catskill police officers running out of their station's lobby after he burst into flames, and another who instead of helping, stood "around the corner of an interior wall rather than rush to the aid of the man who was burning in front of him." Capital Area Relief & Liberation released a statement Jan. 10 that said, in part, "While we're disgusted beyond measure at the actions of the Catskill Village Police, we're not surprised.... The video shows absolutely no reason for Jason to die. Police tossed all training out the window, had multiple officers giving conflicting orders, and did not allow Mental Health Personnel to take the lead in a situation that absolutely didn't call for armed force. Last week, the Times Union quoted an anonymous police official who is not involved in the case saying that his officers are trained to never use a Taser on an individual who may have been recently exposed to a flammable liquid, including hand sanitizer, which contains alcohol. He also said officers should have helped the man immediately. "Once the threat has been stopped, you don't just say, 'I'm going to let that person burn,'" the official said. The attorney general's office said in a statement, "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."