Jersey City police are under fire after video footage surfaced showing several officers beating the victim of an explosive car crash.
On Sunday, Miguel Feliz was driving home from work when another driver, who was being chased by the police, crashed into him and a utility pole, igniting an explosion.
The accident was caught on tape by a witness on the scene. In the footage, Feliz is seen exiting his car and rolling on the ground while trying to remove his fiery clothing. Shortly after, the officers approached Feliz with their guns drawn. A few police officers begin to beat on Feliz, with some kicking him and others trying to drag him into the street.
“The video shows clearly what I saw,” the witness who shot the video told CNN. “I thought the police are going to help him.” Erik Roberto can be heard throughout the video, yelling at the officers to help the injured victim. But, he insists he witnessed otherwise.
“You can see it completely different in the video,” Roberto added. “He didn’t have fire on his chest and that’s where they beat him.”
Despite Roberto’s recollection, the police say they were attempting to rescue Feliz.
“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,” the president of Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association said.
Feliz was then taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition with 30% of his body burnt.
The officers involved could face termination, as the mayor of the city revealed he will be “aggressive” once the officers are identified.
“We are going to pursue termination and criminal charges where appropriate,” Mayor Steven Fulop said. “We are not going to let some poor judgments from police officers reflect on the entire police department.”