It looks like the story of Joshua Feast, a 22-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by La Marque, Texas, police officer Jose Santos on Dec. 9, 2020, will end the way far too many stories like his end—with police not being held accountable.
On Tuesday, a grand jury elected not to take any action against Santos after an independent investigation conducted by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the Galveston County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, according to KHOU 11.
For those who are unfamiliar with the story, Feast was a person of interest in an ongoing investigation into recent shootings in the city of La Marque and, according to police, he had two outstanding felony warrants, including felon in possession of a firearm and felony evading arrest. Santos was dispatched to identify and arrest Feast and, according to his report, he arrived at the scene to find his target leaning into the passenger side of a vehicle.
And that’s where things get fuzzy.
Renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Feast’s family, summed things up nicely at the time in the following statement:
“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 body cam 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.”
According to KHOU, officials claimed Feast not only pointed a gun at police but that he actually fired at them before he was shot in the back, but nothing in the video indicates that ever happened.
Investigators also said Santos identified himself to Feast and observed that he saw the gun he was allegedly holding before firing at him, but that can’t be heard in the video for reasons city officials explained saying the first 30 seconds of the video have no sound because “when Axon cameras are turned on, the system goes into buffering mode for 30 seconds.”
So basically, it didn’t seem to matter that officials were caught lying in their reports or that Santos has a violent past in his record. All that mattered is that Feast was a felon with outstanding warrants and a cop perceived him as dangerous enough to justify lethal force.
There’s likely a lot of truth in between the lines there that will never be uncovered as Santos has been cleared of wrongdoing and Feast never survived to get his day in court.