Where’s the justice for Joshua Feast? It has been more than four months since La Marque police officer José Santos fatally shot Feast in the back. Why is the investigation by Sheriff Henry Trochesset and District Attorney Jack Roady taking so long?
The video from Santos’ body camera, witness testimony and an independent autopsy confirm that he shot Feast in the back. It’s likely that the investigation would’ve been completed and criminal charges brought against any other perpetrator much sooner. And it’s easy to see why the authorities are dragging their feet in this case — the killer is a cop.
Everyone deserves due process, but Trochesset and Roady should conclude their investigation now. Santos should be fired from the La Marque Police Department now and so should his supervisor, Chief Kirk Jackson. If City Manager Charles “Tink” Jackson won’t terminate them, the mayor and city council should replace him with someone who will.
And the district attorney should seek an indictment of Santos now. If these officials refuse to act — if Feast’s killer isn’t fired and the case isn’t presented to a grand jury — they make clear that Feast’s life doesn’t really matter to them. And nothing they say would obscure this ugly truth.
But Feast’s life does matter — not only to his family and friends, but to the several hundred people who have marched, demonstrated and prayed for justice in La Marque. Feast’s life matters to the many other African Americans across the country who’ve learned about his death through the national news coverage and know they, too, could be wrongfully killed by a police officer.
Feast’s life matters to the growing numbers of people of all backgrounds who are rising up today to oppose unjustified violence against Blacks, Latinos and other individuals.
Erica Chenowith and other researchers have estimated that between 15 million and 26 million people participated in protests last summer following the death of George Floyd. Even as we awaited the conclusion of the trial of the cop who killed him, we learned police recently killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, 20-year-old Daunte Wright near Minneapolis and Marcelo Garcia, a man suffering a mental health crisis, in Harris County.
From Seattle to St. Augustine, people are asking: What will it take to end the scourge of police violence?
Understanding the role of police in a contemporary capitalist society is a prerequisite for answering this question. The main function of police is protecting the wealthy and their property — and exerting social control over people of color and workers. It will take a mass multiracial working-class movement to end the crimes committed by the police.
And while we should fight for reforms that will save lives now, only revolutionary social change, the dismantling of the capitalist state and the abolition of the police will end their reign of terror. We need a society in which those who enforce the laws are controlled by and accountable to the communities they serve.