Jonathan Price, a 31-year-old Black Texan, was killed on October 3 by Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas, who is white. Now that officer is facing murder charges, CNN and the Associated Press reported today (October 6).
CNN reported that the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement that, “Officer Lucas made contact with a man, later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Price, who was reportedly involved in a disturbance. Officer Lucas attempted to detain Price, who resisted in a nonthreatening way and began walking away. … The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable.” Lucas was arrested on October 5.
The Texas Tribune and CNN reported that Price was attempting to squash a domestic violence situation in Wolfe City, located 70 miles north of Dallas. Lucas then appeared on the scene and attempted to arrest him. Price then began to walk away, CNN reported.
“When police arrived, I’m told, he raised his hands and attempted to explain what was going on,” civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt posted on Facebook, according to the AP. “Police fired tasers at him and when his body convulsed from the electrical current, they ‘perceived a threat’ and shot him to death.” Price died at the hospital.
Even though Lucas’ arrest could be called swift, compared to the delay in action for so many others who were killed by law enforcement, Merritt tweeted that the arrest was still too slow. “It should happened the day he murdered JP,” Merritt tweeted. “John should still be here.”
Shaun David Lucas is in custody for the murder of #JonathanPrice. His bond has been set at $1,000,000.00— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 6, 2020
This didn’t happen quickly. It should happened the day he murdered JP. John should still be here.
This is step one. Let’s see it through to justice. pic.twitter.com/ydC124MYbG
Former Major League Baseball player Will Middlebrooks, who grew up with Price, shared on Facebook that the online fundraiser he started raised more than $50,000 in less than 24 hours. In a separate Facebook post that included photos of a smiling Price, Middlebrooks wrote, “The face of a good man. But unfortunately it’s the face of a man whose life was taken away from him last night with his hands in the air, while a small town East Texas cop shot him dead.” Middlebrooks continued, “This was purely an act of racism. Period. So, for all of you that think this is all bullshit, you need to check yourselves.”
Price’s Hardin-Simmons University football coach Jesse Burleson tweeted his grief and that the university “lost one of our own in a terrible situation.”
Lost one of our own in a terrible situation. Jonathan Price was an awesome young man during his time with Cowboy Football. Was only with us for a short time in 2008 but was always a Cowboy. Prayers for comfort and peace for Jonathan’s family. #CowboyBrother— Burleson (@BurlesonHSU) October 5, 2020
As the investigation continues, Price’s family and Merritt are demanding to see the police body cam footage and police reports, which they told CNN they’ve yet to see.