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4 suspended after police kicked burning bystander reinstated

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Four New Jersey police officers suspended after a video showed them kicking and dragging a bystander following a fiery auto crash have been reinstated.

The Jersey City officers will be on modified administrative duty and will not be on patrol, city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill told NorthJersey.com (http://bit.ly/1rIPr1W).

She said federal investigators have asked the department not to bring departmental charges against Lt. Keith Ludwig and Officers M.D. Khan, Erik Kosinski and Francisco Rodriguez as a federal probe continues.

The June 4 video showed Miguel Feliz exiting his car before being kicked by the officers. The officers had been chasing a different man whose car resembled one used in a shooting several days earlier.

Officials have said the officers violated several guidelines during the chase.

Public Safety Director James Shea said earlier this month Ludwig, a 24-year veteran of the force, has an “excellent” record, and that the four officers, one of whom has been on the force for a year, “are average police officers.” He didn’t say if any had had previous disciplinary violations.

Feliz wasn’t the only person injured in the chase. Suspect Leo Pinkston suffered a leg injury after officers fired shots at his moving vehicle. They initially stopped the car because it matched the description of one that had been used in a shooting several nights earlier, Shea said.

Shea said at least 20 officers were involved in some aspect of the response to the high-speed chase, which lasted for several miles. Several protocols were violated, he said, including the length of the chase, the firing of shots at a moving vehicle and the placing of a car as a roadblock without approval from a supervisor.

Ludwig was the supervisor of the officers who started the chase and was involved from the beginning, Shea said, “and he allowed it to go on long after the point where, under the attorney general’s guidelines, he should have called it off.”

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