BAYONEE, N.J. — A man who called police because his car was on fire, then got into an altercation with officers claims video proves his arrest was a case of excessive force.
A lawsuit filed by Jason Rios alleges officers pepper-sprayed him, knocked him out and arrested him for no reason. The incident began in August 2010 when officers received a call that Rios' car caught fire.
According to a Bayonne police report, Rios was told to back away from the car so officers could investigate for arson, but he refused to comply and told officers, "I don’t have to do nothing. That's my f-ing car."
The report says he then approached a firefighter in a threatening manner and an officer deployed pepper spray to stop him. When officers attempted to place him inside a cruiser, he continued to resist and was put in prone position on the street.
In the lawsuit, Rios’ lawyer alleges his face hit the ground and the officers "savagely assaulted him until he lost consciousness."
Police found six open warrants for his arrest, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He was transported to a medical center as a precaution and cleared for incarceration.