Body camera video released in fatal Texas police shooting of Joshua Feast
Body camera footage was released in the fatal police shots of Joshua Feast, a 22-year-old black man who died in Texas earlier this month.
Feast, 22, was fatally shot on December 9th when a police officer tried to arrest him on pending arrest warrants in La Marque - a town about 40 miles southeast of Houston, the La Marque Police Department said.
Following several public requests for information following the shooting, a body camera video of the incident was released Monday by the Galveston County Sheriff's office, the agency investigating the incident.
Police officer Jose Santos was looking for Feast as part of an investigation into two recent drive-by shootings, police said. Santos found Feast while patrolling around 11:10 p.m. That night, Feast saw a gun in hand, police said.
The body camera video released by the police shows Santos driving his car and getting out of the car while someone exits the passenger door of another vehicle. Santos appears to open the driver's door and shoot Feast as he runs away.
It is unclear whether Santos or Feast are talking to each other as the video has no audio for the first 30 seconds and is recorded by Feast after it is recorded.
La Marque Police Department said Monday that the lack of audio was due to a manufacturer function where the body cameras only record video for the first half a minute as a buffer. Axon, the maker of the camera, did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the NBC News division's testimony.
Feast appears to stumble after running away and dropping an unidentified object on the ground based on the footage. Police said Monday the item was a pistol that was later recovered by officers and handed over to the Galveston County sheriff's office.
Santos chases Feast to the driveway of a nearby residence, where Feast falls to the ground. The officer asked the scene for paramedics and assistance, and asked someone to recover the gun that was dropped in the pursuit according to the video.
"Show me your hands," said the officer.
"Help me, help me, help me," Feast replied from the ground.
Santos appears to be holding the feast at gunpoint while on the ground and asks local residents approaching the scene to hold back, according to the video.
Feast died in the hospital shooting after being taken from the scene by an ambulance. A second gun was found in solid clothing while being treated in the ambulance, police said.
An autopsy on Solid Body revealed that he had died from a gunshot wound to his back.
Greg Cagle, Santos' attorney, said Monday that the official called Feast by name and told him to drop his gun after seeing Feast with a gun, although there was no audio in that part of the video . Santos fired after Feast pulled the gun in his hand, his lawyer said.
"If you look at the video frame by frame, the real world doesn't work that way," said Cagle. "If Officer Santos sees Mr. Feast grabbing the gun in his waistband, he'll have to make a decision to shoot."
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset told CBS News last week that although he did not see the video, investigators told him that Feast had a gun pointed at the officer.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the Feast family, described the death as "pointless" and claimed that the body camera video released Monday denied the sheriff's claims that Feast aimed a gun. Crump claimed members of the sheriff's office lied to protect Santos.
"Since it is clear that the sheriff's department cannot be trusted to truthfully and impartially evaluate and share the evidence, we are requesting oversight from the Texas Attorney General and an independent investigation from the Justice Department," Crump said.
Trochesset declined to comment on Crump's allegation on Monday, telling NBC News that investigators "are collecting any evidence we need to turn over to prosecutors."
Crump also alleged Santos had a "tendency to use excessive force against black people," citing a 2013 case in which Santos was named as a defendant.
Santos was named in a 2013 lawsuit while serving with the Galveston Police Department alleging he and a fellow officer used excessive force against Reginald Deon Davis in March this year.
Davis reportedly fell asleep in his car after a friend's birthday because he wanted to rest before driving home. Officers allegedly beat Davis, deliberately submerged his face, and stun gun batons, according to the 2013 complaint. It is unclear whether Santos has denied or confirmed the allegations in the complaint.
Davis voluntarily dismissed the case in August 2014, about a year after it was filed, court records showed. Santos resigned from Galveston Police Department in December 2013, the city confirmed to NBC News on Monday, although the reason for his resignation was not disclosed.
Santos has been put on administrative leave by the Le Marque Police Department, according to the department's guidelines, while an investigation into the shooting is taking place at the festival, Police Chief Kirk Jackson said during a December 10 press conference.
"We publish information as soon as we are able to maintain the integrity of the investigation and comply with our legal obligations," said the boss on Monday. "We ask for your patience during the investigation. Our condolences, thoughts, and prayers go with the family and friends of Joshua Feast."
Although there have been protests calling for Santos to resign, any "employment action" before the investigation is closed could "jeopardize the criminal investigation," said Tink Jackson, La Marque city manager, in the statement released Monday.
"There is a way and a process in which personnel action must be taken to make it comply with the law," said the city administrator. "This will need time. We ask for your further patience. "
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