A miles-long police pursuit in Jersey City, New Jersey, screeched to a halt Sunday when the fleeing driver plowed into another car and slammed into a telephone pole, sending both vehicles up in flames. As the innocent victim climbed out of his car, engulfed in flames, police approached him with guns drawn and kicked him repeatedly, before dragging him from the scene on the concrete, new video footage shows.
According to NJ.com, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office is mounting a full investigation into the incident.
"We have serious concerns about the conduct of this pursuit," Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill told NJ.com. "However, we are reserving judgment until the conclusion of the prosecutor's investigation."
Before the crash, Jersey City Police officers pulled over 48-year-old Leo Pinkston for a traffic stop, the New York Daily News reports. He then fled the scene, and police chased him for a few miles in a frantic pursuit involving several collisions and a spate of gunfire. He then crashed his car into 28-year-old Miguel Feliz, who was driving home from work at the time of the crash, according to CBS New York.
That's when two officers allegedly assaulted Feliz, perhaps thinking they were closing in on Pinkston. Prosecutors told NJ.com they "believe with certainty" the man in the video wasn't Pinkston. They're now using the footage as evidence in their investigation. Pinkston has since been charged with eluding police and aggravated assault for his part in the crash.
A friend of Feliz told NJ.com that he is "fighting for his life" in the hospital, where he's being treated for several broken bones and second- and third-degree burns.
"It was just shocking," he told NJ.com. "I didn't think a fire could cause that."
According to Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officer's Benevolent Association, no officers have been suspended in connection with the incident. On Wednesday, Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop vowed on Twitter that the officers involved would be identified, and that authorities would "pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate."
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