Catskill police officers won’t face criminal charges in Taser incident that killed man

Catskill Police officers will face no criminal charges in the death of man who died after police used a Taser on him, Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday.  

Jason Jones died in December 2021 about six weeks after an incident in which he poured hand sanitizer on his bare chest and then caught on fire when police Tased him.

The Attorney General’s Office of Special Investigations said that a prosecutor would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial that the officers committed a crime.

The decision followed an investigation, which included review of security camera footage and interviews with the officers involved, according to a news release.

Attorney General James recommended that the Office of Public Safety oversee and provide training to members of law enforcement on use of Tasers and similar weapons.  

Jones’ death stemmed from an arrest on Oct. 29, 2021. Officers responded to a report of an unruly patron at a bar in Catskill. When officers arrived at the bar, they escorted Jones outside. He then ran away from officers and toward the police station, which was a block away.

Jones entered the station, pounded on the windows, overturned a table and removed some of his clothes, according to a news release. Officers spoke with him for about 25 minutes in the lobby asking him to calm down and saying they would take him home. He then picked up the bottle of alcohol-based sanitizer and rubbed it all over his head and bare upper body, according to a news release.

They were going to arrest him on the grounds that he could be a danger to himself or others. Jones refused and an officer used a Taser, which ignited the hand sanitizer. Officers ran to get a fire extinguisher. The first officer to return patted out the last of the flames on Jones’ body. He was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to a burn unit at another hospital. He died on Dec. 15, 2021.