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A white Texan police officer was arrested and charged with the murder of a black man after a preliminary investigation found that the police officer’s actions were “unobjectionable”.
The Texas Department of Public Security said in a statement late Monday that Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas first used his taser, later dismissed his service weapon, and beat and killed Jonathan Price.
Price’s death comes amid ongoing national protests calling for an end to systemic racism and greater accountability to officers who use excessive force in encounters with black Americans. This includes recent high profile incidents where officials killed or seriously injured people of color like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and Jacob Blake.
Texas officials said Lucas responded to a call about a possible fight on Saturday night at the 100 block on Santa Fe Street in Wolfe City, which is roughly nearby 60 miles northeast of Dallas.
The statement said Price was involved in the disruption. At one point the officer tried to arrest Price but resisted “in a non-threatening position and began to leave.” At this point, Lucas used his taser and then his gun to shoot and kill Price, officials say.
Emergency officers were called on site. Price was taken to the Hunt Regional Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to testimony.
Price’s family told the NPR member station KETR that he had died from three gunshot wounds.
The broadcaster adds that Price’s family has pushed back the characterization that he was involved in the argument. You say He tried to end an argument between a man and a woman outside the Kwik Chek supermarket.
Shaun David Lucas is in custody for the murder of #JonathanPrice. His bond issue was set at $ 1,000,000.00
It wasn’t quick. It was supposed to happen the day he murdered JP. John should still be here.
This is step one. Let’s take it to court. pic.twitter.com/ydC124MYbG
– S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) October 6, 2020
Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the family, said in a tweet on Monday that Lucas should have been arrested immediately after the shooting, not two days later.
“John should still be here,” he said.
“This is step one. Let’s take it to court.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Texas Rangers, who typically lead the way in gunfights involving state officials. It said it coordinates the Wolfe City Police Department and the Hunt County District Attorney’s Office.
Multiple media outlets reported that Lucas was admitted to Hunt County Jail on Monday evening on bail for $ 1 million. However, NPR was unable to confirm Tuesday morning whether Lucas was still being held there.
James Whitely, a reporter for ABC subsidiary WFAA-TV, reports that Lucas has been relocated to a neighboring, undisclosed county for involvement.
Price’s death has prompted residents to take to the streets to demand justice – as has happened in Louisville, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Rochester and other cities following police deaths in blacks.
A vigil for Price was held in Wolfe City on Monday evening. who was known and celebrated as the “Pillar of the Community”.