New York officers won’t face charges in death of man who caught fire after being shot with stun gun

Oct 13, 2023, 6:25 PM

Police officers in upstate New York will not face criminal charges in connection with the death of a man who doused himself with hand sanitizer and then caught on fire when one of the officers shot a stun gun at him, the state attorney general’s office said Friday.

Jason Jones, 29, was taken off life support in December 2021 after having spent six weeks in intensive care following the fire at the Catskill police station.

Attorney General Letitia James’ office released a report on Jones’ death and the officers’ actions, concluding that a prosecutor would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers committed crimes. The report also recommended that police officers receive new training on using stun guns safely.

“Officers attempted to subdue Mr. Jones with a device that is not usually lethal to take him to a hospital, believing he was a danger to himself or others,” James’ office said in a statement. “The investigation showed that their training did not warn them against using a Taser around hand sanitizer.”

Jones’ family disputes the report’s findings and has a pending lawsuit against the town of Catskill and three officers, according to their lawyer.

On Oct. 29, 2021, police in Catskill, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of Albany, responded to a local bar for a 911 report about an unruly patron. When officers arrived, they escorted Jones outside and he ran to the police station, authorities said.

Jones became unruly in the police station lobby too, pounding on windows, overturning a table and removing some of his clothes as three officers talked to him to try to calm him down, police said. Jones then took alcohol-based hand sanitizer that was in the lobby and spread it on his head and upper body, authorities said.

The officers determined Jones “could be” a danger to himself or others and decided to take him into custody, according to James’ office. One officer shot Jones with a stun gun, and his head and upper body burst into flames for about 25 seconds. Officers appeared startled and ran out of the lobby to find a fire extinguisher, the report said.

Graphic video shows Jones putting out the flames himself and later being taken away to a hospital.

Kevin Luibrand, a lawyer for Jones’ family, said Jones’ father is upset by the report’s conclusions, and Jones’ mother had been “inconsolable” over how long the investigation was taking before she died of natural causes Tuesday.

Luibrand said he and the family believe it could be proven in court that the officers committed crimes, and parts of the report are inconsistent with the video. Luibrand took issue with the report’s findings that before the stun gun was used, there was a discussion among the officers about taking Jones into custody because he appeared to be a danger to himself or others.

“There was no conversation. There was no discussion,” he said, adding the stun gun use “was reactive and wholly unnecessary.”

United States News

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May ...

Associated Press

Helicopter carrying Iran’s hard-line president apparently crashes in foggy, mountainous region

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country's foreign minister apparently crashed in mountainous Iran on Sunday.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Child is among 3 dead after Amtrak train hits a pickup truck in upstate New York

NEW YORK (AP) — A child was among the three victims killed when a passenger train hit a pickup truck, officials said. The northbound Amtrak train hit a Dodge truck Friday evening in North Tonawanda, New York, a small town along the Niagara River between Niagara Falls and Buffalo, police said. The victims included a […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

11 hurt in mass shooting that marked a weekend of gun violence in Savannah, Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — An argument between two women led to a gunfight that left 11 people hurt in a busy tourist area of Savannah, Georgia, late Saturday, one of five weekend shootings in the city, two of which were fatal, authorities said. Two people were injured in separate shootings Friday. Two more shootings Saturday […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Power expected to be restored to most affected by deadly Houston storm

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston area residents affected by deadly storms last week that left at least seven dead were finally getting some good news as officials said they expected power to be restored by Sunday evening to a majority of the hundreds of thousands still in the dark and without air conditioning amid hot and […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally goes to space 60 years later on Bezos rocket

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — America’s first Black astronaut candidate finally rocketed into space 60 years later, flying with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company on Sunday. Ed Dwight was an Air Force pilot when President John F. Kennedy championed him as a candidate for NASA’s early astronaut corps. But he wasn’t picked for the 1963 class. […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Airstrike kills 27 in central Gaza and fighting rages as Israel’s leaders are increasingly divided

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged across the north on Sunday as Israel’s leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

New York officers won’t face charges in death of man who caught fire after being shot with stun gun