The family of a Texas man shot dead by police last week is demanding the release of video and the firing of the officer who opened fire.
National civil rights attorney Ben Crump called for transparency in the case Tuesday alongside the family of the slain Black man, 22-year-old Joshua Feast. Investigators have said Feast had a gun, but Crump said Feast posed no threat and was shot in the back while fleeing.
“Our eye is focused on justice and justice starts with the firing of this officer and with releasing those videos,” Crump said.
Crump said he would reveal the results of an independent autopsy on Wednesday.
Neighbors told CBS station KHOU that Feast was shot while running away from the officer on December 9 in the southeast Texas town of La Marque, outside Galveston. The shooting has drawn protests in La Marque and calls for accountability.
Investigators say Feast was a person of interest in an ongoing investigation into recent shootings in the area, KHOU reports. Feast had gotten out of a car around 11:15 p.m. and was running across the street when the officer opened fire, according to the station. Feast was shot and later died at a hospital.
La Marque police identified the officer as Jose Santos, who had been with the department since 2014.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset, whose department is investigating the shooting, told the Galveston County Daily News that investigators told him video of the incident shows Feast pointed a gun at the officer. Trochesset told the paper the officer had approached Feast because he was wanted on a felony warrant. Trochesset said a weapon was found in the street and another gun was recovered from Feast’s pants. Trochesset did not immediately return a call for more information from CBS News.
Crump said the video should be shown to the family immediately. “If the video exonerated Officer Jose Santos, don’t you believe we would have seen that video by now?” Crump said.
The body camera video is part of an ongoing investigation by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office. Deputies told KHOU the video can’t be released because of the probe.
Crump said Santos is the same officer seen in a disturbing video showing a different 2013 incident in Galveston in which a group of officers is seen beating and kicking a Black man and holding his head underwater along a beach. CBS News has not confirmed that Santos is one of the officers in the video. The Galveston County Daily News reports Santos had been working as a Galveston police officer at the time and was among several officers sued in federal court over the incident, though the suit was later dismissed.
Santos resigned from the Galveston Police Department in December 2013, the paper reports, but a department spokeswoman didn’t have a reason for the resignation.
Crump said the 2013 incident should have precluded Santos from being hired at the neighboring police department. “If they would have taken his gun and badge away from him after what he did in 2013, Joshua Feast would have been here today,” Crump said.
The La Marque police department did not immediately return CBS News’ request for information about Santos’ employment.
Crump said Feast had two young children. Feast’s mother and Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, whose May killing by Minneapolis officers led to a national reckoning over police reform and racial justice, also demanded that Santos be fired and prosecuted for Feast’s killing.
“When someone turns their back, they’re defenseless,” Philonise Floyd said.
KHOU reports the officer has been placed on administrative leave per the department’s policy.