Man Set on Fire by Police Stun Gun Dies

Police say Catskill man Jason Jones had doused himself with hand sanitizer
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2021 4:20 AM CST
Man Set on Fire by Police Stun Gun Dies After 48 Days
File photo of an officer with a stun gun.   (Getty Images/Jupiterimages)

An upstate New York man has died almost seven weeks after he burst in flames when police shot him with a stun gun. Police say Jason Jones, 29, became belligerent with officers and doused himself in flammable hand sanitizer after he walked into the Catskill Police Station around 1:30am on Oct. 30, HudsonValley360 reports. He died Wednesday after he was taken off a ventilator in a burn unit at a hospital in Syracuse. Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione, whose office had been investigating the incident, says the investigation will now be handled by Letitia James, the state attorney general, reports the New York Times.

Stanzione tells the Times that Jones—a former high school athlete known to police from previous encounters—was not in custody when he was shot with the stun gun. Stanzione says Jones made his own way to the police station after an altercation in a bar around 400 feet away. Kevin Luibrand, a lawyer for Jones' family, says Jones caught fire after police fired the stun gun to subdue him. The officers were apparently unaware that ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer is flammable. "Jason fought a 48-day battle in intensive care and his family was with him throughout," Luibrand said in a statement Thursday.

Catskill Police Chief Dave Darling said last month that he thinks officers "were afraid he was going to hurt himself, and that’s what started it," the Times Union reports. He said Jones had removed his clothing before the "horrible" incident. He said Catskill officers do not wear body cameras, but video of the incident recorded by cameras in the police station have been turned over to investigators. Luibrand, the family's lawyer, says police have not shared video or police reports with him. (Read more New York state stories.)

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