Updated: 5:27 p.m. ET, October 8 —
Law officials categorized Lucas’ actions as an “egregious violation of the city’s police and department’s policies,” city officials said in a released statement.
Price, 31, was killed on Saturday night at a local gas station after he stopped to intervene in a domestic dispute between a woman and man. Texas Rangers said Price resisted in a “non-threatening posture and began walking away” when Lucas fired his stun gun before firing at Price.
Lucas’ attorneys maintain their client acted in accordance with Texas laws and categorized Price as dangerous, claiming he attempted to take Lucas’ stun gun.
Calls for justice rang loud over the weekend and into the week as Black communities grappled with another shooting death in the wake of the coronavirus. Social media campaigned for justice around Price as his family and friends described him as a family man, supportive friend and mentor. However, critics of Price voiced condolences and their concern after a series of Price’s past social media posts showed that he supported the police.
The Texas cop who shot and killed a Black man who was only trying to de-escalate and intervene in a domestic violence situation was arrested Monday, days after the latest instance of police shooting Black people first and asking questions later. Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun David Lucas was charged with the murder of Jonathan Price, who has been described as a “hometown hero,” according to CBS 11 News in Dallas-Fort Worth.
As of early Tuesday morning, Lucas had not been fired. Instead, he was placed on administrative leave. A judge set his bail at $1 million.
On Saturday night, Price reportedly confronted a man allegedly abusing a woman at a convenience store in Wolfe City, but CBS 11 News reported that the situation “had calmed down, according to witnesses by the time police arrived.” According to a statement by the Texas Rangers, the law enforcement agency investigating the case, Lucas tried to detain Price, who “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away.” That’s when “Lucas deployed his TASER, followed by discharging his service weapon striking Price. EMS was notified and Price was transported to Hunt Regional Hospital, where he later died.”
Further details of the shooting were unclear, but the situation bore similar hallmarks of so many other police shootings that involved Black suspects being shot in the back.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” Texas Rangers added in its statement.
Dallas-based civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who immediately called for Lucas to be fired, reacted to the arrest with cautious optimism.
“This didn’t happen quickly. It should [have] happened the day he murdered JP,” Merritt tweeted Monday in response to Lucas being arrested. He added: “This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice.”
Price’s father told CBS News 11 that he wanted to make sure Lucas is properly punished.
“I want to see what the man gets… what he has coming to him for killing my son,” Junior Price said.
Former Major League Baseball star Will Middlebrooks called Price “a good friend” and started a GoFundMe account to raise money to “go towards his memorial and funeral.” The online fundraising effort has since gone on to exceed its goal of $50,000.
There is also reportedly video footage of the shooting.
“The chief saw the video and told me he wasn’t happy with what he saw,” Merritt told CBS News 11.
Texas has been the scene of multiple high-profile police killings of Black people who didn’t have guns in recent years.
Damian Daniels, a military veteran, was shot twice in the chest in front of his newly purchased home in Bexar County after cops were dispatched there to perform a wellness check in late August. Merritt, who was representing Daniels’ family, said that the combat veteran suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was previously “the subject of four mental health-related calls” without incident.
University of North Texas student Darius Tarver had police called on him in January after reportedly acting erratically, including allegations that he was banging on doors and yelling for someone to let him in as well as breaking light fixtures with a frying pan in McKinney. Police said Tarver ignored commands to drop the items and instead started advancing towards the cops. Police said they tasered Tarver but he was able to rise back up, prompting them to shoot and kill him. But Tarver’s father, a McKinney Police Department chaplain, said he saw the bodycam video of the encounter and “believes it sharply contradicts official narratives,” Merritt, who represented Tarver’s family, said at the time.
There were suspicions of a coverup in the police killing of Michael Dean by an officer with the Temple Police Department on Dec. 2. The police report was light on details but did indicate that the shooting happened after a traffic stop and claimed Dean, who was shot in the head, was “Evading.” However, the nature of the traffic stop was not disclosed and neither was any other information to support the allegations Dean, a 28-year-old father of three, was evading anything.
And who can forget the horrific stories of Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson being killed in their own homes in separate instances of preventable police violence? Amber Guyger, an off-duty police officer in Dallas, shot Jean after purportedly mistaking his apartment for hers and thinking he was a burglar. Not to be outdone, Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean shot Jefferson while she was in her bedroom playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew last year.
This is America.