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Officers involved in tasing man who caught fire and later died won’t be criminally charged, New York attorney general’s office says

By Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

(CNN) — The New York attorney general’s office says criminal charges won’t be brought against officers after a man covered in hand sanitizer was tased and caught on fire – an incident that left him dead weeks later.

Three officers with the Catskill Police Department were involved in the incident that left Jason Jones dead December 15, 2021, several weeks after he was tased by one of the officers.

The attorney general’s Office of Special Investigation released its report Friday into the events that led to Jones’ death. The investigation concluded “a prosecutor would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the Catskill Police Department (CPD) officers involved in the incident committed a crime, and therefore criminal charges could not be pursued,” Attorney General Letitia James’ office said in a news release.

The report includes recommendations that the state’s Office of Public Safety provide additional training on Tasers and similar devices and to “comprehensively study all flammable substances that such weapons could ignite, list those substances in the training materials, and send updates promptly to all departments that have such weapons in use.”

The 2021 incident that led to Jason Jones’ death

Police originally escorted Jones from a bar on October 30, 2021 after a call about him being disruptive, according to the news release.

He ran from officers and entered the Catskill Police Department lobby, about a block away, according to the release.

He aggressively knocked on the windows, overturned a table, partially disrobed and eventually squirted what appeared to be hand sanitizer on his head and shirtless body, CNN previously reported.

The attorney general’s office released videos of the incident in January 2022 showing three officers confronting Jones in the lobby. In one of the videos, Jones is seen squirting what appears to be hand sanitizer on his head and shirtless body before going off screen. That’s when one of the officers is seen pointing a Taser at him and deploying the weapon. Jones is engulfed in flames and then falls to the floor as all of the officers exit the lobby, the footage shows.

The officers ran out of the room to look for a fire extinguisher, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

Nearly 14 seconds later, one of the officers returns to help Jones. A stretcher is brought in approximately 15 minutes later, according to the video, and Jones is then seen wheeled out of the lobby.

He was taken to the hospital and died 45 days later on December 15, 2021, CNN previously reported.

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