The Texas police officer who killed an unarmed, young Black man last week by shooting him in the back has been involved with at least one other incident of “brutalizing” a different young Black man. La Marque Police Officer Jose Santos shot Feast late Wednesday night as the 22-year-old ran away.
The totality of the questionable circumstances renewed calls for Santos and La Marque Police Chief Kirk Jackson to be fired as protesters marched Saturday in the Texas city located about 40 miles southeast of Houston.
“Bad cops got to go,” protesters chanted, local news outlet KHOU reported.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Feast’s family, pointed to Santos’ violent past and wondered why he was even still allowed to be a police officer. While the La Marque Police Department has refused to released bodycam footage from Feast’s killing, Crump provided video footage from an incident in 2013 when Santos beat and held a Black man’s head underwater despite his repeated pleas of “I can’t breathe.”
“Why was Officer Santos ever permitted to wear a badge following that disgusting incident?” Crump asked in a press release emailed to NewsOne. “Joshua Feast would still be alive today if the La Marque Police Department had done the right thing by demanding that their officers be individuals of sound moral character – not individuals like Jose Santos who had a documented history of tormenting and harming his fellow man. It was all but promised that Santos would use excessive force again as it had been previously condoned.”
Feast’s uncle, who lives near where the shooting took place told the local ABC affiliate that Santos spotted his nephew while out on patrol, made a U-turn and yelled out his name. When Feast started running, Santos pulled out his gun and shot him in the back.
Police have said Feast was sitting in a car when Santos saw him. They claimed Feast was a person of interest in local shootings but declined to provide specifics.
A neighbor provided further details that prompted more questions about Santos’ deadly actions.
“I run to my bedroom window and I heard the officer tell him, ‘Put your hands up where I can see them!'” the neighbor told KTRK. “But (Josh) was already shot. After (he) was shot, (the officer) said put your hands where I can see them.”
Jackson, the police chief, said “firearms recovered at the scene,” but the refusal to release body cam footage casts doubt on that claim.
Crump demanded that footage be released immediately.
“We will not stop until all of the body cam footage, as well as any other footage obtained by law enforcement, is released from the night that Joshua Feast was shot in the back and killed by Police Officer Jose Santos,” Crump said in the statement. “Joshua’s family and the residents of La Marque deserve to know what transpired the night of this tragedy. Justice is not possible if the investigation continues to operate in secrecy, leaving the public – and Joshua’s family – in the dark.”
Feast’s death follows a growing list of other police killings that involve shooting Black suspects in the back.
That includes Casey Goodson Jr., who was shot in the back by police who purportedly and inexplicably mistook the bag of Subway sandwiches he was holding for a gun when he was killed at his Ohio home in front of his grandmother and two toddlers on Dec. 4.
In August, a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake several times in the back at close range while the Black man tried to enter his own car. Amazingly, Blake survived.
This is America.