Jonathan Price had just broken up a fight between a man and a woman at a convenience store in Texas when a cop pulled up to investigate the fight, according to witnesses.
Price, 31, approached the cop with his hand extended as if to shake hands but the cop told him to turn around to be handcuffed.
Price told him he was not going to be handcuffed and began walking away. Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas then tasered him, ordering him to get on the ground.
The 22-year-old rookie cop then shot him to death after Price grabbed hold of the taser wires sticking out of his body while reeling from having been tasered.
The cop claimed he feared for his life because Price was trying to take his taser. But friends of Price who witnessed the shooting said he was merely trying to maintain his balance after being jolted by the taser.
The incident took place on October 3, 2020 and Lucas was arrested on murder charges within two days and fired a short time after that.
But last month, after almost two years behind bars, an all-White jury acquitted the former cop, even after watching the bodycam video showing Price was never a threat to the cop.
The video also shows that Lucas was not even sure if Price was involved in the fight before he pulled out his weapons and started barking orders, turning to a bystander and asking “is he the one?”
And it shows that Price appeared to be the only Black person in a crowd of White and Hispanic males standing in front of the store when he pulled up, the only person he insisted on handcuffing before he could start gathering facts.
The body camera video which was released to the public after the verdict shows Price appeared to be wanting to tell the cop his side of the story. But Lucas did not want to hear anything from Price until he was handcuffed and detained.
Now attorney Lee Merritt who represented Price’s family said he will ask the United States Department of Justice to file criminal charges against Lucas.
“The jury’s verdict goes against the weight of the evidence and leaves black Texans exposed to state sanctioned violence,” he tweeted. “We are appealing to the Department of Justice to intervene and bring federal criminal charges.”
Lucas’ attorneys testified their client acted in self-defense and had no other choice to shoot “because he was terrified.”
Prior to his death, Price was well-known in Wolfe City for his friendly demeanor, a town of about 1,500 people about an hour northeast of Dallas. He had played football in high school and college and was working for the city’s public works department.
In June 2020, five months before he was killed, during the height of the George Floyd protests, Price published a Facebook post expressing his support for police.
I’ve never got that kind of ENERGY from the po-po
Not saying black lives don’t matter, but don’t forget about your own, or your experiences through growth / “waking up”.
It was Price’s trust of police that prompted him to walk up to the cop with his hand extended rather than flee the scene following the fight as the others did, according to Merritt.
But it quickly became apparent that Lucas – who became a Wolfe City police officer in April 2020 – viewed him in a threatening manner from the moment he met him.
Lucas said he attempted to detain Price because he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
And it is true that Price had been drinking that night along with two friends he had grown up with; a pair of brothers whose father had passed away. The three men had attended the father’s funeral that night, then had some drinks and then went to the store to buy cigarettes.
One of the brothers, Nicholas Malone, testified that he was inside the store when he heard the sound of glass breaking, then turned to see a man grabbing Price in a bearhug.
He said he and his brother then tried to pull them apart as the scuffle continued for a few seconds. But the man and the woman with him fled in a red Mustang.
Lucas arrived on the scene afterwards and was approached by Price.
“What’s going on brother? You good?” Price asked.
Lucas replied by telling Price, “Back up, stand right there, you understand me?”
Price then asked again if Lucas was “good” and said, “I hope you have a good night tonight.”
And then he said, “I’m sorry about the broken glass right here.”
“You did this?” the cop asked.
“I didn’t do this but he tried to wrap me up and shit,” Price responded.
“Well, go ahead and turn around right now,” the cop said.
“I’m not going to turn around,” Price responded before walking away.
“Is this the guy?” Lucas asked a bystander but that questioned went unanswered.
“I can’t be detained right now,” Price said.
“You’re going to be detained,” the cop said.
But Price kept walking away, telling him he was not going to be detained.
Lucas pulled out his taser and repeatedly ordered him to place his hands behind his back but Price kept walking away.
Lucas fired the taser, causing Price to stumble.
“Hey, that was uncalled for, bro,” a witness can be heard saying.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” Lucas began yelling at Price.
Price, who is stumbling from the shock, then grabbed on to the taser wires protruding from his body which is when Lucas fires four times, striking Price in the torso.
Wolfe City Police Sergeant Jarred Hayes, who was on the scene, testified that, “Price smelled like alcohol, but was not aggressive to anyone,” according to WFAA.
An investigation by the Texas Rangers quickly led to charges against Lucas.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the Texas Rangers said at the time.
He was then fired by the Wolfe City Police Department who released a statement saying he was “terminated for his egregious violation of the city’s and police department’s policy.”
But things started going his way during the seven-day trial where cameras where not allowed, resulting in his acquittal. Footage from a surveillance video which captured the fight was shown in court but not released to the public.
Robert L. Rogers, one of Lucas’ attorney, issued the following statement after the body camera footage was released:
“The bodyworn camera footage shows Shaun give 20 loud, clear commands while exhausting all reasonable force options to gain compliance. Tragically, when Mr. Price grabbed his Taser, Shaun had no other options. The jury reviewed and analyzed this same video when they acquitted Shaun.”
But Merritt, the attorney representing Price’s estate, believes racial bias led to the acquittal.
“We want to know if there were Black jurors who were present for voir dire, who was struck, and if they were struck for cause or they were struck for some other reason or if they were targeted. We want to know if enough Black residents were invited to participate in the jury selection process.”
Last month before the trial, Price’s mother, Marcella Louis, filed a civil lawsuit against Lucas and the Wolfe City Police Department which you can read here.
Watch the edited video below or the full video here.