Man in 7-Eleven confrontation says cops shouldn’t have pointed guns
OCEAN TOWNSHIP (Monmouth) — A Black man who was surrounded by police at gunpoint in a 7-Eleven parking lot on Sunday afternoon said he was the one who called police after the cashier threatened him with what he thought was a knife.
The video posted on the Facebook account of Ashley Stovall (CAUTION: Includes profanity) shows at least a half-dozen officers surrounding a man later identified by township police as Da-quan Beerman, 24, of Neptune Township.
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 was armed with a box cutter.
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 from custody.
Beerman told told New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday that he and a female friend were at the Hannah's Express Laundromat and went to the 7-Eleven next door for a slice of pizza and a drink. They saw that Shahin was not wearing a mask and was eating a burger and fries from McDonald's while he was preparing their order.
"It was just a sight of horror," Beerman said, adding that he brought it to Shahin's attention in what he described as a "respectful" approach.
"I specifically said, 'you know you're not allowed to eat food on counters you're preparing food on.' Immediately he begins to get so irate and starts cursing and screaming at me. His first response to me was 'who the F do I think I am and if I don't like it I can get the F out.' Then he told me to get the 'F' out," Beerman said.
He and his friend started to walk out of the store and two other store workers came up from behind in a "threatening manner," Beerman said.
"The guy who was eating takes his shirt off, starts arguing with me and says he's going to do this and do that to me, all of these threats. My friend had a drink and her phone in my hand. He knocks both of them out if her hand and pushes me," Beerman said.
Beerman said he picked up a piece of firewood from an outside display "to send some kind of a message as Shahin's co-workers started coming towards him. Beerman and his friend walked away and back towards the laundromat. Shahin ran back into the store and then came back out with and chasing them with a knife, according to Beerman.
Beerman yelled to a woman in the parking lot watching to call 911. An unidentified woman is in one of three 911 calls released to New Jersey 101.5 by township police. A second call was a 10-second hangup call and a third was a man reporting the incident.
Beerman said he also called police for help but his voice is not heard in the other calls. Police did not respond to a message asking if there were additional calls that were not released.
Police begin to arrive at the store but "the way that they responded they did not help me," Beerman said.
"Immediately upon responding to the scene ... their position was shoot, first ask questions later. They did not ask what was going on. They pulled out guns and were pointing them in my face as soon as they got there," Beerman said.
Beerman provided video to New Jersey 101.5 (Caution: profanity) he said was taken on his cell phone showing what he called a "standoff" with police in the parking lot in which he repeatedly pointed out that officers had guns pointed at him.
"Shoot me and lose your job," Beerman told officers. "Be stupid. I don't have any weapon. You want to shoot me? Go ahead. I'm not doing anything. I don't have any weapons. I came here to make a legal purchase. He was the one with the knife. I called you. I called you."
Beerman tells officers to "put the gun down" nine times as some in the crowd urge him to follow the instruction to get on the ground, which he eventually does.
Beerman disputes the statement by Ocean Township police that they negotiated with him to drop the piece of wood and said he never had it in his hands when they arrived.
"Why would I need a weapon when I see officers that are coming to defend me? Also, if there was a negotiation does it really take three .40 caliber pistols against one piece of wood?" Beerman said.
Beerman also said he was not arrested by police and was uncuffed in the parking lot.
"You guys are getting slapped with the biggest f***ing federal lawsuit you have every f***ing seen," Beerman is heard telling officers in a video recording of the incident. (Caution: profanity)
Beerman told police he was filing an internal affairs report and said kept getting calls to come to the department and speak to an officer he said he was told came in on his day off.
Beerman believes that because he did not come in immediately and file his report, officers were "pissed off" and added charges that "can't be proven" like threatening to kill the 7-Eleven workers.
"Over eating food on the counter? Does that even sound realistic? Does that sound like something a person would tell someone? There's no level of anger or frustration you can get me to that would make me want to kill anyone," Beerman said.
Beerman also denied using the piece of wood as a weapon toward any of the 7-Eleven workers
Police Chief Steven R. Peters in a written statement said that 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.
Beerman, who said he is a server at a Monmouth County restaurant, said he has not received a copy of the summons nor has he consulted a lawyer or been able to sleep.
"There's so much trauma that this has caused me," Beerman said.
A protest rally in support of Beerman is scheduled Ocean Township police headquarters.
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