A 29-year-old New York man caught fire when police tasered him. Jason Jones had poured hand sanitizer on himself prior to the incident. Officers with the Catskill Police Department said that he had appeared intoxicated. He allegedly walked into the police department and confronted police officers. That's when police used the taser on Jones. A law enforcement source close to the case said that he took some of his clothes off and doused himself with the hand sanitizer.
If that's true, it would seem reckless of police to taser him. While Catskills officers' uniforms do not have cameras on them, there are cameras in the police station, according to a former investigator with the New York State Police. Jones' attorney did not comment on the matter, but he did say,
We've requested preservation of all recordings and written materials and have no further comment.
The incident is being investigated by the Greene County District Attorney's Office. Jones is in critical condition in the burn unit of a Syracuse hospital. The reason for his pouring hand sanitizer on himself has not been revealed, but it could have been a prank or possibly a mental health issue.
While tasers are usually considered "non-lethal," they have caused deaths or serious injury. A New York officer was stripped of his badge after a naked man was tasered and fell to his death in 2008. A Queens man died of a heart attack after being tasered seven times by police in 2020. A Bronx man also suffered cardiac arrest after being tasered by police.