Vigil for Jones held in Catskill
Andrea Macko reports in Porcupine Soup that about two dozen people attended a vigil Jan.13 for Jason Jones, the 29-year-old Catskill man who died after being shot with a Taser by village police. Jones burst into flames after the Taser shot, and after a long stay in the burn unit of a Syracuse hospital died. The vigil was held in front of the Catskill Police Station, with organizers and attendees calling for police accountability and improved mental health services within the community. A video was released of the police incident last week, showing Jones dousing himself with hand sanitizer in the Catskill Village police station, then one of three officers fires the Taser shot, Jones bursts into flames, and the officers flee the scene rather than directing aid toward the injured man. The incident happened in the early hours of Oct. 31, and Jones died Dec. 15. The New York State Attorney General’s Office is now investigating the incident. Here is a short excerpt of the vigil through the Catskill streets, recorded on a live WGXC webstream by volunteer programmer Neva Wartell. CLICK HERE to download or play the excerpt. The “Justice for Jason” was organized by Catskill native Thomas Kearney, who said Jones was a “man in distress” who needed “compassion and empathy.” Jones’ biological mother Mary Jo Snyder attended the vigil. “Jason had his issues, but everyone loved him,” Snyder said. “I wish I could have spent more time with him.” An anonymous woman who said she was friends with Jones said, “While it’s too late for Jason, going forward my hope is that the police will be properly trained and these three men will be reprimanded, not just for Jason but also to prove to this community that there is accountability and that nothing like this ever happens again.” The names of the three Catskill Village police seen in the video have not yet been released, and the attorney general's office investigation continues. WGXC volunteer programmer Neva Wartell attended the vigil and made a recording that can be heard in the WGXC Audio Archives. Read more about this story at Porcupine Soup.