Onlookers Yelled as Cops Drew Their Guns. Chief Says Good Job
OCEAN TOWNSHIP (Monmouth) — The chief of police says his officers did what was necessary when they drew their weapons on a man in an incident captured on Facebook Live — even though onlookers yelled to officers the man was unarmed.
"The responding officers were confronted with a chaotic and potential volatile situation that required them to take immediate action. Their actions were necessary to ensure that none of the people involved or the public were injured," Chief Steven R. Peters said in one of two statements released by his department after a Sunday incident at as 7-Eleven on West Park Avenue.
The video posted on the Facebook account of Ashley Stovall (CAUTION: Includes profanity) shows at least a half-dozen police surrounding a man later identified by Ocean Township police as Daquan Beerman, 24, from Neptune Township.
A woman repeatedly tells police on the video Beerman is not armed and asks police why they have their weapons drawn, as a crowd can be heard in the background. Standing with his arms up, Beerman asks if he is suspected of a crime before dropping to his knees and a dropping what police have since said is a piece of firewood beside him on the ground.
The video begins after police already have their weapons drawn. It's not clear in the recording whether Beerman made any motion the police considered threatening. Peters doesn't describe any such action or confrontation in his statement.
"There's no reason for them to have their guns drawn on this man. He's on the ground. He has no weapons on him. What the f*** is wrong with you," a woman is heard yelling at the officers in the video. She urges Beerman to lay on his stomach.
"I'm making sure he don't get killed because he's a f***ing Black man," the woman yells.
Two officers approach Beerman behind a shield with a third on their side, and placed cuffs on Beerman.
"Are you kidding me? And this is what the f*** is wrong with this f***ing police department. And then when he doesn't have anything on him he will be f***ing released, correct?" the woman says.
Officers say on the video they had received multiple phone calls about a man in a white T-shirt, a description that Beerman fit, and that they're trying to sort things out. They say they'd gotten calls about a person with a knife.
Police later said in a post to the Nixle alert service that Beerman used a piece of firewood during an altercation inside the store with a worker, Gady Shahin, 18, of Ocean Township, who had a box cutter.
Beeman confronted Shahin because the younger man wasn't wearing a mask and was eating food inside the store, police said. They also Beeman threatened to kill two 7-Eleven workers during the incident.
In the video, some in the crowd say Beerman called 911 and brought police to the scene himself. But Ocean Township police spokesman Michael Sorrentino said a review of the calls indicates two calls were received and neither one was from Beerman.
Beerman and Stovall have not yet responded to requests for comment sent to their Facebook accounts.
The Townsquare News Network has requested but not yet received 911 call recordings, body camera recordings and affidavits related to the incident.
Police said Beerman and Shahin were each charged with possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and unlawful possession of a weapon. Beerman was also charged with making terroristic threats. Both were released pending a future court date.
Ocean Township police chief Steven R. Peters said he reviewed the Facebook video and said it showed " a very short piece of the entire picture."
He said the incident was initially reported as a confrontation between two people involving a knife and credited the officers for defusing a "chaotic and potential volatile situation" that required their immediate action.
"Their actions were necessary to ensure that none of the people involved or the public were injured," Peters said.