JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Jersey City Police officers Eric Kosinski and MD Khan were released and ordered to wear electronic monitoring devices while pending trial for attempted murder, assault, misconduct and weapons charges after they allegedly beat an innocent man who was on fire.
“This is 3rd degree,” said Miguel Felix, 28, rolling up his sleeve in his attorney’s office today. Burns cover his arms and legs.
“I just told them that they got the wrong guy, why you guys hitting me and they had their guns out telling me get on my knees,” Felix recalled.
Video from June shows Felix's car on fire on Tonnelle Avenue. His car flipped and burst into flames after it was allegedly struck by a man police were pursuing, Leo Pinkston, 48. Felix’s doors would not open and he could not get his seat belt off, which was already on fire. He eventually crawled out through a shattered window. He said his body was still on fire when police began beating him.
“The initial comments were: they were just trying to put out the fire,” said Felix’s attorney, Alex Locatelli. “Anybody who sees that video, I mean it’s laughable.”
The video appears to show police dragging and kicking him repeatedly. He was in the hospital for over a month with broken ribs and burns to 30 percent of his body.
Kosinski and Khan’s family members were in the courtroom today. They did not wish to comment.
But attorneys for the officers said they were just doing their job. Officers also fired off their weapons during the pursuit.
"Eric Kosinski pulled his weapon that night and fired it at this maniac who was leading the police on a chase through Jersey City and who was ramming other vehicles on Tonnelle Avenue,” said attorney John Lynch. "He fired at this man to try and prevent some innocent person from being killed, which Mr. Pinkston almost accomplished anyway. Mr. Kosinski should have been commended, not indicted.”
A total of four officers have been indicted. Lieutenant Keith Ludwig and Officer Francisco Rodriguez are not facing attempted murder charges because they did not fire their weapon. A court date for Ludwig and Rodriquez has not yet been set. Kosinski and Khan are due back in court in January.
"It’s sad day when a police officer doing his job ends up facing an indictment. We look forward to him being exonerated in court,” said Daniel Welsh, Khan’s attorney.
Felix’s attorneys have put Jersey City on notice that they intend to sue. Despite having insurance, Felix said he’s facing astronomical medical bills and he still has to have more surgeries and procedures done. His brother started a GoFundMe page to assist him. Felix was on his way home from work at Peapod, a grocery delivery service, when this happened.
“Finally, we might get some justice,” he said. “They’re gonna get what they deserve.”