Authorities in Texas released video Monday of the fatal police shooting of Joshua Feast, a 22-year-old Black man.
Feast was shot on Dec. 9 in La Marque, about 40 miles southeast of Houston, by Officer Jose Santos who was attempting to arrest him on outstanding felony warrants. Police previously said video showed Feast pointed a gun at the officer, but residents and an attorney for Feast’s family dispute the police narrative.
The La Marque Police Department released the body camera footage after multiple requests from the Feast’s family, the media and the community.
Protesters gathered Monday at La Marque City Hall where speakers thanked officials for releasing the footage but said it does not offer definitive answers about the shooting, Galveston County Daily News reported. Speakers are calling for the city to fire Santos, for Police Chief Kirk Jackson to resign, and for more transparency.
The video appears to show the moment that Feast was shot, but the footage is shaky and grainy, and it’s unclear if Feast was holding a gun.
In the video, Santos is seen approaching Feast in his vehicle, then he gets out and begins following Feast on foot with his weapon drawn. The video doesn’t show a muzzle flash from Santos’ gun and a gunshot cannot be heard because the first 30 seconds of the five-minute video does not have audio. Police said there is no sound because the camera was buffering after being turned on.
Feast is seen running, and then he’s next seen lying on the ground in front of a residence, wounded, as Santos yells “show me your hands” three times.
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In the video, Santos calls for a medic and back up. He says over police radio that Feast dropped a gun and says a crowd is forming. A woman can be heard screaming in the background.
In a statement Monday, La Marque police said Feast was a person of interest in two recent drive-by shootings and Santos was dispatched to arrest him on two outstanding felony warrants including felon in possession of a firearm and evading arrest.
Police said Feast was holding a hand gun and “abruptly turned toward” Santos when he was shot. Two guns were recovered from the scene, including one found while Feast was in the ambulance receiving medical treatment.
An independent autopsy released last week by an attorney for Feast’s family, Ben Crump, found that Feast died from a gunshot wound to the back. Crump on Monday called for the Texas Attorney General and an independent U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the shooting. USA TODAY has reached out to police about the results of an official autopsy.
“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,” Crump said in a statement.
Per the department’s policy, Santos was placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the shooting, Police Chief Kirk Jackson said during a Dec. 10 news conference. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.
“We know our community has questions,” Jackson said in a statement Monday. “We are releasing information as soon as we are able while maintaining the integrity of the investigation and complying with our legal obligations. We ask for continued patience as the investigation unfolds. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of Joshua Feast.”
Although there have been calls for Santos to be fired, City Manager Tink Jackson said in a statement “employment action” on any officer “could jeopardize the criminal investigation.”
“All of us are hurting,” he said. “All of our citizens, neighbors and friends realize this is a tragedy. My hope for La Marque is that we remain respectful of each other, lift each other up and focus on the future as we begin to heal.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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