Four police officers have been suspended after a video surfaced that appears to show the victim of a fiery car crash being kicked by police as he lies on the ground, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced Monday.
The video shows the aftermath of an accident that happened during a police chase in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 4. Miguel Feliz was driving home from work when a vehicle being chased by police crashed into his car and a utility pole. Both vehicles and the pole caught fire.
In a video captured by witnesses, Feliz exits his vehicle and rolls on the ground attempting to remove his burning clothing. Moments later, several police officers approach Feliz while pointing their guns. Two officers appear to kick him, then drag him into the street.
“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,” Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, said in a statement issued after the video surfaced. The incident left Feliz in critical but stable condition, with severe burns to 30% of his body, his family told Univision.
The disciplinary measures announced by Fulop relate to violations during the car chase that do not include what is seen in the video.
The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is also investigating the police chase.
Officers suspended without pay
Lt. Keith Ludwig, and Officers M.D. Khan, Erik Kosinski and Francisco Rodriguez have been suspended without pay, according to the mayor’s statement. Two deputy chiefs were transferred to different roles.
Fulop said that these steps were taken after a preliminary investigation by the Jersey City Police Department revealed “multiple indications of our officers and supervisors acting outside of their guidelines and training.”
Ludwig was suspended for not stopping the car chase at any point. Khan and Kosinski were suspended for setting up an unauthorized roadblock during the chase and Rodriguez was suspended for firing shots at a moving vehicle, according to a city official.
“We view the actions on June 4 as a breakdown of multiple levels of leadership,” Fulop said in his statement. “This is the first step as all of the officers involved will be held accountable for their actions or inactions that night.”