The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

I’ll Take ‘Things Not to Say to a Jersey Cop While You’re Holding a Knife’ for $400

Posted on | September 26, 2020 | 1 Comment

What is “I’m gonna stab him”?

Excuse me if I took some time off from writing my long Breonna Taylor post — which I promise I will finish — in order to watch some more police bodycam videos. This one is from Asbury Park, N.J., where police responded to a domestic violence call Aug. 21. They found a woman outside, and went inside the apartment where they encountered Hasani Best, 39, who was armed with a knife and barricaded himself in a bedroom. For about 45 minutes, cops tried to negotiate Best’s surrender. The guy in charge was Sgt. Sean DeShader, a black man who in 2016 was named the department’s “Officer of the Year.”

In the bodycam video released this week, you hear Best ranting profanely and even telling the cops to shoot him. DeShader tries to defuse the situation, joking and laughing. This was obviously not the first time police had been called to deal with Best. In the 911 call that summoned police, a neighbor says “the couple was known for fighting physically,” and that the woman was screaming for help.

Early in the standoff, police used a taser, but it was ineffective. Over and over, DeShader tells Best: “Put the knife down and come on out.”

In the final moment, Best opens the door halfway, knife in hand, and gestures toward an officer standing to the left of Sgt. DeShader.

“I’m gonna stab him.”

One second later, DeShader fires twice.


A lot of people who have viewed this video are critical of Sgt. DeShader’s decision to fire. Best did not visibly lunge toward the officers before he was shot, but on the other hand, this encounter was happening at close range. The cops were in a hallway, with no more than five or six feet between themselves and the bedroom door. If Sgt. DeShader had waited a half-second longer, who knows what might have happened?

But a point I’ve made before: How many times does a cop have to tell you to drop the knife? What part of “drop the knife” is so difficult to understand? If a cop was pointing a gun at me, I guarantee you he wouldn’t have to tell me twice. But after repeated warnings, Best then made an explicit threat: “I’m gonna stab him.”

He chose . . . poorly.



One Response to “I’ll Take ‘Things Not to Say to a Jersey Cop While You’re Holding a Knife’ for $400”

  1. News of the Week (September 27th, 2020) | The Political Hat
    September 27th, 2020 @ 10:11 pm

    […] I’ll Take “Things Not to Say to a Jersey Cop While You’re Holding a Knife” f… What is “I’m gonna stab him”? […]