Authorities reviewing video of police at fiery crash scene

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Cellphone video obtained by Eyewitness News shows police officers kicking and dragging an innocent bystander who was on fire following a chase and fiery crash in New Jersey Sunday night.

The video, obtained by Univision and shared with The Jersey Journal, shows the 28-year-old man emerge from a burning vehicle with parts of his body covered in flames.

"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", said Carmine Disbrow, the union's president.

At least two cops kick the unidentified man, who is now in critical condition with burns and broken bones.

Hours after the video surfaced, city officials said they are looking to terminate the cops involved.

"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, the individual pursued by police", Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.

Erik Roberto
Erik Roberto

City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said officials have "serious concerns" about how police handled the pursuit, which began around 11 p.m. Sunday, The Jersey Journal (http://bit.ly/2shdFJ8) reported. Pinkston allegedly got into at least two crashes along the way, including one with a utility pole and Feliz, who was in another auto.

The prosecutor's office did not identify the person who was seen being kicked in newly released video. The 48-year-old man drove erratically up Tonnelle Ave. and got into a minor collision as he tried to drive between two lanes, prompting the pursuing officers to fire shots. The friend stated that the 28-year-old was driving home from work when he tried to avoid crashing with Pinkston's fast-moving vehicle. Other officers are seen stomping on parts of his body.

The victim has a heavily swollen face, the friend said - something which he thought was odd; he says that after seeing the video he is certain the victim is his friend.

Pinkston was charged with aggravated assault and eluding.

The victim, who has not been identified, suffered severe burns and is fighting for his life at the hospital, a friend of the victim told NJ.com. Prosecutors didn't immediately say why police initially tried to stop him, nor did they say why he may have fled.

His dad, Tomas Felix, said his son was driving home from work when he tried to avoid a speeding auto driven by 48-year-old Leo Pinkston. Police officers took controversial action.

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