JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A group of New Jersey police officers have been indicted, including two for attempted murder, after they were caught on camera kicking a bystander as he crawled from the burning wreckage of a crash involving a pursuit suspect, the Hudson County prosecutor announced Thursday.
The officers face a slew of charges each:
- 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.
Prosecutors say the officers began chasing Leo Pinkston shortly after 11 p.m. on June 4 near Ocean and Cator avenues in Jersey City after the driver failed to stop for them.
During the pursuit, Pinkston, 48, tried to drive between two lanes of traffic and hit several cars. Officers fired multiple shots at his car, prosecutors said.
Pinkston crashed into another car then collided with a utility pole on Tonnelle Avenue, sparking a fire and hurting the other driver.
That's when the second driver, on fire, crawled away from the wreckage -- and was kicked by the officers, cellphone video shows.
At the time, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop called for the officers' termination.
On Thursday, Fulop released this statement:
"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."
Pinkston, the driver who police were chasing, was indicted on Aug. 23.
He faces multiple charges, including aggravated assault while eluding and aggravated assault by auto, prosecutors said. He's expected to be in court again on Dec. 11.