Family calls for police reform, charges filed following deadly police confrontation
WARNING: Some portions of the video may be disturbing to some viewers.
The family of a 39-year-old man shot and killed by an Asbury Park police officer during a confrontation is calling for the officer to face charges and for more police reform.
The family of Hasani Best gathered outside the Asbury Park Municipal Complex Wednesday evening, along with supporters who say that the shooting was not justified.
The shooting happened last month on Fourth Avenue. Police say that Best threatened them with a knife and would not comply with their orders to put the knife down and come out of his room. The incident was recorded on police body cameras – footage that was released by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
“He didn’t deserve it. He didn’t deserve it,” Best’s mother Carols Sanders says. “They didn’t have to take his life. They were laughing and joking one minute and then shot him through the door.”
Asbury Park police and the Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office were called to the home on Aug. 21 for a domestic incident. Police say that when Best would not put the knife down, they first shot him with a Taser but that he didn’t go down.
Negotiations to get Best to comply with officers also failed and the confrontation eventually ended in gunfire when Best is allegedly heard threatening to stab an officer.
“I never thought nothing like this would every happen,” says Best’s son Dayvon White.
In the video Best does not appear to lunge at police, only voice a threat. This has angered some who believe there would've been more patience if Best was white.
"If a man standing in his own house behind his bedroom door with a butter knife is what you call a threat to your life, then I am concerned about the quality of training before on our streets,” says Teon Willis with the group Center for Black Excellence.
The officer who shot Best has been identified as Sgt. Sean DeShader.
Others within the Asbury Park community have longed called for a police civilian review board. But the City Council has always pushed aside the idea.
The Rev. Nicole Harris apologizing to the family for the lack of oversight.
“I’m sorry the City Council did not accept any proposals for a civilian review board that they were given,” she says.
The other suggestion is that new training for police could have kept this use of deadly force from happening. That's an idea that the state Attorney General and prosecutors across the state have endorsed.
The attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting.