Texas Officer Arrested After Killing Unarmed “Pillar of the Community”
The Texas Rangers arrested a Wolfe City police officer two days after he fatally shot Jonathan Price, a 31-year-old unarmed Black man, while he was walking away “in a non-threatening posture.” The story sounds familiar because it unfortunately is.
From the disturbance call to the officer’s trigger reaction, to the tension in the streets since, this story has been told, over and over again. And yet, the deadly confrontations continue to play out, and seem to be picking up pace, between private citizens and those charged with keeping the peace.
According to an official statement released by Lt. Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, police on Saturday were called out to a “possible fight in progress” just before 8:30 p.m. at a gas station in Wolfe City, a small town about 70 miles northeast of Dallas. The statement said Shaun Lucas, the officer involved in the shooting, made contact with Price, who was reportedly involved in the disturbance. It was reported that Lucas attempted to detain Price, who “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away.”
It was then that Lucas first fired his Taser and then discharged his service weapon, hitting Price as he calmly walked away. Fox 4 KDFW reports that the victim was shot multiple times. Price later died in the hospital. Lucas was arrested, charged with murder and is being held on $1 million bond.
But civil rights attorney Lee Merritt said Lucas should have been immediately arrested, that two days later is two too many.
This one hurts… for so many reasons. pic.twitter.com/Z1gTYJFXuX
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) October 4, 2020
Merritt and witnesses in the incident paint a tragic picture, where Price was far from the aggressor, that he instead was attempting to break up a fight between a man and a woman when officers arrived. Merritt said when police arrived Price raised his hands up and tried to explain the situation to officers before Lucas made a move to detain him and ultimately killed him.
The Texas DPS statement said the officer’s actions were “not objectionably reasonable.”
According to family, Price was well loved by “everybody, Black, white, Mexicans, everybody.” He was a city employee who also worked as a mentor and fitness trainer, referred to by some as a “pillar of the community.”
And in line with other similar and disturbing stories of late, a peaceful vigil for Price was disturbed by an armed white man who showed up and clashed with mourners. No arrests were made in the Monday night chaos, but it is evidence of growing tension gripping the nation. Unfortunately, that tension and standoffs between groups have effectively overshadowed the police brutality issues drawing protesters into streets.