Four New Jersey police officers were indicted on charges ranging from attempted murder to aggravated assault after a video captured them kicking a bystander after he was crawling from a fiery crash involving a car chase, authorities announced Thursday.
Authorities were in pursuit of Leo Pinkston, 48, on June 4 after attempting to pull him over. Police say Pinkston crashed into a utility pole and a car driven by 28-year-old Miguel Feliz, an innocent victim of the collision.
The video captured Feliz rolling out of the crash scene as a witness can be heard yelling “oh no, NO!” An officer is then seen approaching the man with his gun drawn before another officer kicks him. At least one other cop can then be seen joining in before dragging the victim away.
“I still need future surgeries…still have pain in my left arm,” Feliz told reporters, showing the burns he suffered. The injuries bound him to a hospital for about a month and a half, over a week of which he was in a coma.
The officers face the following charges, as reported by Pix 11:
Lt. Leith Ludwig has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of official misconduct.
MD Khan has been charged with 13 counts, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, official misconduct and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Officer Eric Kosinski has been charged with five counts, including attempted murder, aggravated assault and official misconduct.
Officer Francisco Rodriguez has been charged with four counts, including aggravated assault, official misconduct and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
They were suspended without pay following the indictments, according to the Associated Press.
“Public Safety Director James Shea said in June that Ludwig, a 24-year veteran of the force, has an ‘excellent’ record, and that the four officers, one of whom has been on the force for a year, ‘are average police officers,’” the AP reported.
Shea told the AP that “several protocols were violated,” including “the length of the chase, firing shots at a moving vehicle and placing a car as a roadblock without approval from a supervisor.”
Ludwig “was the supervisor of the officers who started the chase, he was involved from the beginning and he allowed it to go on long after the point where, under the attorney general’s guidelines, he should have called it off,” Shea said, according to the news source.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop released the following statement regarding the incident:
As we stated at the outset, the actions taken that night required serious investigation. We took immediate and appropriate action and will now abide the judicial process. Our internal investigation will now begin into all the actions or inactions of department members that night. We want the community to continue to have full confidence in the Jersey City Police Department and its officers.
The suspect who was being chased by the officers was indicted on August 23, and is facing multiple charges including aggravated assault by a vehicle and aggravated assault while eluding, prosecutors said. He is due in court again on December 11.