Newly released video shows the moment New Jersey police officers fatally shot a man wielding a knife after a standoff at his apartment.
Asbury Park police fired two shots, striking Hasani Best, 39, after a tense 45-minute standoff at his apartment door this August, according to New Jersey Attorney Gurbir S. Grewal, who released seven minutes of body camera footage of the killing Tuesday.
Best, who had barricaded himself inside, can be seen opening the front door multiple times, revealing that he was holding a steak knife.
Officers pleaded with him to drop his knife and exit the home before Best opened the door and threatened an officer.
“I’m going to stab him,” he said, pointing to Sgt. Sean DeShader at the scene.
DeShader opened fire a second later.
“S—t,” he said after discharging his gun.
The stand-off appeared to be de-escalating before the sudden, deadly turn, with the cops and Best joking about cutting Deshader’s hair just seconds prior to the shooting.
“You get a haircut and I’ll come out,” Best said to the cop, prompting laughter from the officers.
“C’mon, we’ll let you cut is hair!” one cop said.
The officers were responding to a report of a domestic dispute between Best and a woman at the residence on Aug. 21, shortly after 9 p.m. When the cops arrived, Best had locked himself inside the apartment while the woman was outside.
The officers had attempted to use a Taser on Best, but it was ineffective, according to the attorney general’s office.
During the stand-off, Best could be heard yelling about the woman he was arguing with. At one point, he said the officers would be justified in using their weapons because he was armed with a knife.
“I’m tired. Tired. And again, you’re justified. ‘He had a weapon, came at y’all.’ Did the bulls—t with the f—king taser,” Best told the officers from behind the door. “Be a f—ing man. Knock the door down and do what you gotta do.”
Best was shot at about 10:10 p.m and was transferred to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The footage was released as the attorney general continues its investigation into the shooting. The case will eventually be brought to a grand jury, usually made up of 16 to 23 citizens, which will ultimately decide whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the officers.
“The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time,” the AG’s office said in a news release distributing the footage.
The footage comes after the family of Best, a Bronx native, demanded the attorney general to release body camera video and audio earlier this month, NJ.com reported.
Carol Sanders, who was Best’s legal guardian and considered him her son, broke down when discussing the police response with NJ.com Tuesday night.
“Unjustified, that’s all I can say is unjustified,” Sanders said. “Right now, my head is hurting and I’m upset about my son.”
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