No criminal charges will be laid against the officer who shot and killed an Asbury Park man armed with a knife, in a call for domestic violence more than two years ago.
A state grand jury voted Monday not to file criminal charges after deliberations regarding the death of 39-year-old Hasani Best.
Best died on August 21, 2020 after a 45-minute standoff with responders during which a Taser was also used, although it had no impact on diffusing the situation.
After Best said he was going to stab the officer closest to him, opening the door to the room he had retreated to, Sgt. Sean De Shader fired his service weapon twice.
Best was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.
Officers had received a 911 call from a neighbor who said Best had been in a physical fight with another person in the residence.
In addition to Asbury Park police, officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office had also responded, one of whom deployed the Taser the first time Best opened the bedroom door.
“Come on, Mr. Best, we’ve dealt with you too many times. Just put the knife down,” one of the officers says through the upstairs bedroom door on the body camera footage that was released.
“Listen, all you have right now is just harassment. It’s not that bad. Come on, drop the knife, you come out and we’ll sort this out,” an officer was heard saying. .
“I would never want to hurt you,” Best said at one point through the door. “Actually, we need the police. I know it’s a tough job you have,” before continuing, “At the end of the day, I don’t care about it,” he said. “Stop being fake; talk to me really.
Within moments, Best says “Anyone near me, I’m going to stab them and then you have to shoot me”, before the door opens and two shots are fired.
After reviewing the evidence, testimony, and instructions on legal standards, the state grand jury determined that no criminal charges should be brought against the officers.
An officer may use lethal force in New Jersey when he reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm.
In September 2021, Best’s family deposit a wrongful death lawsuit in Monmouth County Superior Court on behalf of his three children.
The Asbury Park Press reported that based on a notice of tort claim previously filed, they were seeking $25 million.
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