HOUSTON - La Marque Police have released body camera video that shows an officer shooting a man to death earlier this month. Shortly after the video was released, a number of people protested outside LaMarque City Hall.
On the police bodycam video, you can see 22-year-old Joshua Feast is shot seconds after LaMarque Police Officer Jose Santos gets out of his police cruiser. Feast appears to be holding something in his hand.
The shooting happened quickly, but if you slow the video down, it appears something falls from Joshua Feast's hand after he's shot and it's left lying in the road.
"When you think about the young white man in Kenosha, Wisconsin who shot three people, killing two of them. He's walking towards the police with an assault weapon around his neck. Nobody sees him as a threat, but Joshua Feast who's running away from him, they see this young black man as a threat. We have to deal with this implicit police bias in policing once and for all or our children are going to continue to be killed," says Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump who's representing Feasts mother, Lakeisha Feast.
The body camera video is started while LaMarque Police Officer Jose Santos' is still driving and you initially don't hear anything because the department says when their police body cameras are turned on, it takes 30 seconds for audio to begin recording.
Before there's sound on the tape, about 24 seconds into the recording is when 22-year-old Joshua Feast is shot. He runs a few yards and the audio starts.
Santos yells into his 2-way radio "1000 block of Pirtle. 1000 block of Pirtle. Send me units now. Show me your hands. Show me your hands."
Feast is shot and this point and he's collapsed in a driveway with one arm in the air and says "I'm up."
Crump says the body cam video confirms what he calls an unjust shooting.
"His death was so unnecessary. When you look at that video he's running away. He's defenseless. There's no reason for officer Jose Santos to shoot this young black man in the back when he's not posing any violence to him, no threat to him."
But in a statement, the LaMarque Police Department says as Officer Santos got out of his patrol car he "called out to Feast and (saw) Feast was holding a handgun" and "almost immediately following the shot, the handgun Feast was holding fell to the ground." The department also says while Feast was receiving treatment in the ambulance "a second handgun fell from his clothing."
"First unit to get here, I need you to recover the gun he dropped just outside the Dodge Charger," Santos can be heard saying in the video.
It was around 11 p.m. on December 9, 2020, when Officer Santos went to arrest the 22-year-old who was a person of interest in a series of shootings and Feast had two outstanding felony warrants for being a felon in possession of a firearm and evading arrest.
Santos spotted Feast leaning into the passenger side of a vehicle and that's when the body cam video first records Feast who's then shot just outside a relatives house.
His family members came outside finding him dying in the driveway.
"I heard the gunshot. Then I heard you talking about show me your hands. You said show me your hands after you fired the shot," a male relative says to the officer and a woman is then heard crying and screaming on the video.
Crump says Santos has a history of violence against blacks. The attorney points to a 2013 incident when Santos worked for the Galveston Police Department. Santos and several officers were caught on camera arresting a black man who later sued the officers for assault.
"They're stomping, hitting, punching, and holding the young man's head underwater."
Santos left Galveston PD a short time later and the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.
Feast leaves behind two children.
"It's going to be very difficult on them this Christmas, especially for his mother Lakeisha. Joshua was her firstborn son and this was so unnecessary," says Crump.
Ben Crump released a statement after the bodycam footage was released:
"Today, the City of La Marque released the video footage captured by Officer Jose Santos’ body camera on the night he shot and killed Joshua Feast. As we had previously suspected, Officer Santos didn’t give Joshua any verbal commands but shot him in the back as he tried to run away.
This footage portrays one thing: A defenseless man was shot in the back when he had not disobeyed a single lawful command and posed no threat to the officer.
"What the video does not show is what was depicted in the story told to CBS News by Sheriff Trochessett, the head of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office investigation. Sheriff Trochessett, when interviewed by the media two days after the shooting, stated that his investigators told him the video (which he said he had not seen at the time) showed Joshua Feast pointing a gun at Jose Santos before Santos shot and killed him. He also stated that investigators told him that Feast was running towards the officers before turning and running away.
The bodycam footage released today shows no such thing. There was no other officer on the scene at the time, so there is only one body cam video capturing the shooting itself. This leads us to conclude that members of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office—who are responsible for investigating the actions of this officer absent bias or predisposition—instead lied regarding the evidence revealed by the body cam video in order to taint and twist the narrative in the press, offer a justification for Santos’ actions and untruthfully attack the character of the deceased, Joshua Feast.
"If there is any other footage that supports the claims of the investigators as stated by Sheriff Trochessett, it has not been shown to the Feast family nor released to the public, and should be immediately. Otherwise, we are left with what is right in front of our eyes.
"Because it is clear that the Sheriff’s department cannot be trusted to evaluate and relay the evidence truthfully and impartially, we demand oversight from the Texas Attorney General and an independent investigation from the Department of Justice.
"The body cam footage, which LMPD has had since the night Joshua Feast was killed, documents not only a senseless shooting but an officer who refused to render aid to a dying man. Given those facts, coupled with Santos’ propensity to use excessive force against Black people as evidenced in the 2013 video, it’s outrageous that Officer Santos’ employment still has not been terminated, and it’s a disrespect to the Feast family, citizens whose rights law enforcement has a duty to protect. Santos should be fired immediately for gross misconduct and charged for the killing of Joshua Feast."
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump has been calling for officer Santos immediate termination and prosecution for Feast’s death.
The family also wants Santos immediately fired.
The LaMarque Police Department says no employment decisions will be made before the investigation is completed by the Galveston County Sheriff's Office.