WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two Jersey City police officers appeared in court Friday to face charges that they violently attacked an innocent man during a high-speed pursuit.
The man was actually on fire at the time after his car got hit by the vehicle the police were chasing.
Miguel Feliz, 28, held up his burnt arm Friday in disbelief that he got caught in the middle of the wild police chase.
“I just told them that ‘you got the wrong guy. Why are you guys hitting me?’ You know, with the guns out,” Feliz said.
Thirty percent of Feliz’s body was burned June 4 after the suspect police were pursuing — Leo Pinkston, 48 — crashed into his car, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
The officers are accused of, with guns drawn, approaching Feliz, an innocent bystander, while he was on fire. One cop allegedly kicked him to the ground, and at least one other allegedly joined in before ultimately dragging Feliz into the street.
The incident was captured on video.
Feliz was not the suspect. He was just on his way home to West New York from work.
“There’s still pain in my left arm,” he said. “Still get nightmares and stuff like that once in a while.”
On Friday, former police officers MD Khan and Eric Kosinski turned themselves in for their involvement.
“I had some issues myself with the initial comments were they were just trying to put out the fire,” said said Alex Locatelli, Feliz’s lawyer. “Anybody sees that video — I mean, it’s laughable.”
The officers are charged with aggravated assault against Feliz and attempted murder against Pinkston, who they had tried to pull over.
“He was doing his job,” said Daniel Welsh, Khan’s lawyer. “It’s a sad day when a police officer doing his job ends up facing an indictment.”
Feliz’s lawyers said the city is also responsible.
“The officers were not properly trained by the city of Jersey City,” said attorney Thomas Cammarata.
Feliz spent a month in the hospital, saying he fought to stay alive for his 6-year-old son, Miguel. Feliz has more than $700,000 in medical bills and more surgeries on the way.
Khan and Kosinski are due back in court Jan. 8.
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