At some point, Mr. Jones began to douse himself with hand sanitizer, Mr. Stanzione said.
“For what reason, we don’t know,” he said. “That’s part of the investigation.”
When the officers deployed the stun gun to subdue Mr. Jones, he caught fire, Mr. Luibrand said.
Many hand sanitizers contain ethyl alcohol, which, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “readily evaporates at room temperature into an ignitable vapor and is considered a flammable liquid.” The incidence of fires related to such sanitizers is “very low,” the C.D.C. says, but “it is vital” that they be “stored safely.”
David Darling, the Catskill police chief, did not respond to calls seeking comment on Thursday. He told The Times Union last month that Mr. Jones, a former high school sports standout whom officers knew, appeared intoxicated when he arrived at the police station.
“I think they were afraid he was going to hurt himself, and that’s what started it,” Chief Darling told The Times Union, calling the episode “horrible.”
Mr. Stanzione confirmed on Thursday that video cameras at the police station had captured the episode. Mr. Luibrand said that neither the footage nor any police reports detailing what happened had been provided to him.
“They have shared nothing with us,” he said.
In an investigation of officers’ use of so-called conducted-energy weapons — the best known being the Taser — USA Today and the Arnolt Center for Investigative Journalism at Indiana University found “a pattern of sloppy, reckless and deadly use of the weapon involved in hundreds of deaths and injuries in the past decade.”
Among the deaths detailed in the USA Today report, published in April, was one in 2017 involving a suicidal 39-year-old man in Arlington, Texas, who was shot with a stun gun by officers who had watched him douse himself with gasoline. The electrical currents immediately set the man ablaze and burned down his house, the newspaper reported. He died several days later.