Video Shows Cops Kicking Burning Crash Victim

Authorities think the man was an innocent bystander
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2017 9:31 AM CDT
Video Shows Cops Kicking Burning Crash Victim
A clip from the scene.   (YouTube/

It is rough to watch: A video from shows a man in flames emerging from his burning car after a Sunday night wreck. Police officers then arrive on the scene quickly—and begin kicking him before dragging him away from the flames. The officers apparently thought the man was the same one they had been pursuing in a car chase, but it turns out he was a second driver, an innocent victim who got caught up in the chase. The driver police were pursuing has been identified as 48-year-old Leo Pinkston, and he crashed his car into a utility pole while trying to elude cops after fleeing from a traffic stop. That started a fire that engulfed the vehicle of the second man, now in the hospital with severe burns.

"Our investigators have reviewed the video and we believe with certainty that this man is the bystander from West New York who suffered burns, not Leo Pinkston," a spokesman for the Hudson County prosecutor's office tells NBC New York. Friends say the second driver, who has been identified only as a 28-year-old man, had been driving home after work when the accident happened. "This is unacceptable," tweeted Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. "We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate." He separately said "the entire pursuit that was previous to that fiery crash had questionable judgment calls from the officers." Pinkston, also hospitalized, faces charges of aggravated assault and eluding. (More police chase stories.)

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