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A former small-town Texas cop has been acquitted of all charges by an all-White jury for the killing of an unarmed Black man.
Former Wolfe City officer Shaun Lucas, 24, was acquitted of all charges, including murder, by an all-White jury for the 2020 killing of Jonathan Price, 31. The jury deliberated for five hours after listening to testimony from Lucas who claimed Price was reaching for his taser before shooting him four times in the torso.
Lucas approached Price outside of a convenience store after calls of a fight that Price was reportedly breaking up came in.
“Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Lonny Haschel, “who resisted in a non threatening posture and began walking away.”
#BREAKING New statement from the Texas Rangers on the arrest of #WolfeCity Police Officer Shaun Lucas. He’s charged with murder in the death of #JonathanPrice
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectively reasonable.” pic.twitter.com/Zz7sHkJqrl
— Alex Rozier (@AlexNBCLA) October 6, 2020
Lucas told jurors that an intoxicated Price said he was “not going to be detained,” before Lucas fired his taser. Lucas then claimed that Price turned around and reached out, causing him to fire his gun.
Price’s friend, Nicholas Crockett, testified to the jury that he was at the scene and that Price appeared to be reaching out to catch himself after being shot with the taser.
Prosecutors called Sergeant Jarred Hayes to testify at the trial that Price did not appear aggressive the night of his death.
Cop acquitted by all-White jury
The Texas Rangers, the state investigatory agency, concluded that Lucas’ actions “were not [objectively] reasonable,” and charged him with murder days later.
Despite the Rangers’ investigation and conclusion, Lucas was acquitted by an all-White jury after five hours of deliberation. The Price family attorney, Lee Merritt, said they will be appealing the decision to the Department of Justice.
The jury’s verdict goes against the weight of the evidence and leaves black Texans exposed to state sanctioned violence. We are appealing to the Department of Justice to intervene and bring federal criminal charges.
— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) September 23, 2022
Price’s mother, Marcella Louis, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the former officer for violation of Price’s Fourth Amendment rights.
“Officer Lucas was not in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death at the time that he shot Mr. Price,” her complaint said. “There was no justification for officer Lucas to use lethal force against Mr. Price.”
Despite our best efforts, The Black Wall Street Times could not locate any bodycam footage of the incident. We reached out to the Wolfe City Police Department to see if they have released the footage that was shown to the jury and if not, why, and if they had a plan to.
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