An eyewitness video taken after a fiery car crash appears to show New Jersey police officers kick an innocent man who was trying to put out flames that engulfed his body. The crash came after an intense police chase and shooting on Sunday, reported NBC New York.
"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," said a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.
In the video, a man next to the crash catches fire and attempts to roll on the ground to put out the flames. During this time, officers approach him and kick him in the ribs. It’s possible the officers believed he was the suspect involved in the chase; however, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said many missteps were taken in the pursuit.
"This is unacceptable," Mayor Fulop tweeted Wednesday. "We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate."
"I don't think there's any explanation that would justify their actions," Fulop to NBC New York. "The entire pursuit that was previous to that fiery crash had questionable judgment calls from the officers, from the shootings to continuing to pursue the car."
The police chase occurred on Sunday evening when Leo Pinkston, 48, fled from officers during a traffic stop. Cops began a pursuit of Pinkston, which resulted in Jersey City police opening fire. Eventually, Pinkston crashed into a utility pole a few blocks away and his vehicle burst into blames.
During the accident, another man was driving along Tonnelle Avenue and was injured by the fiery accident. This unidentified man was the one whom police kicked in the video, said prosecutors.
Eric Roberto recorded the video and witnessed the victim getting kicked.
"They didn't help him, they just started kicking him and grabbing him," Roberto told News 4 New York. "I don't think they treated him the right way, and that's not how you treat any human in this world."
The Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association said the officers were attempting to put out the flames.
"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," JCPOBA President Carmine Disbrow said in a statement.
The burned bystander is being treated for his injuries. His family told News 4 New York that he has severe burns and fractured ribs, and that he's going into surgery on Thursday.
(Photo: Getty Images)