Police officers were filmed kicking an innocent burn victim who had been injured by a car crash on June 4 in Jersey City, New Jersey (video below).
The cops were chasing a suspect, Leo Pinkston, whom they fired shots at, notes The Jersey Journal. Pinkston reportedly crashed into the victim's car, which is when the blaze began.
A Hudson County prosecutor's office spokesperson told WNBC: "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."
A friend of the unidentified victim told The Jersey Journal that the victim was driving home from work when he was hit by Pinkston's speeding car.
According to the friend, the victim suffered second- and third-degree burns and broken bones, and is in the hospital "fighting for his life."
The friend added that the victim has a very swollen face: "It was just shocking. I didn't think a fire could cause that."
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said: "We have serious concerns about the conduct of this pursuit, however, we are reserving judgment until the conclusion of the prosecutor's investigation."
Pinkston was charged with aggravated assault and eluding.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez expressed gratitude to the person who filmed the incident: "I'd like to thank the individual who came forward with this video and I'd like the public to know that we welcome their help. This video is now part of all the evidence we are considering as we investigate the actions of all individuals who were involved with the events of Sunday night in Jersey City."
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted on June 7: "This is unacceptable. We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate."
Fulop also told WNBC: "I don't think there's any explanation that would justify their actions. 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."
Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, told The Jersey Journal: "As it should be, this entire incident is being fully investigated. 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."
The news site notes the man was "rolling on the ground to put out the flames" before he was kicked by the cops.
Eric Roberto, a witness who filmed the incident, told WNBC: "They didn't help him, they just started kicking him and grabbing him, with legs. I don't think they treated him the right way, and that's not how you treat any human in this world."