A Texas police officer who fatally shot a Black man after the victim initially offered a handshake was acquitted of murder on Thursday.
Shaun Lucas, 24, shot Jonathan Price four times on Oct. 3, 2020, outside a convenience store in Wolfe City.
Price, who was 31, extended his arm for a handshake and offered an apology for broken glass when Lucas arrived on the scene, according to both police statements and eye witnesses in the 1,100-person town about 60 miles northeast of Dallas.
But Lucas apparently thought Price was drunk and moved to detain him. Police claimed that Price resisted and was unaffected when Lucas tried to shock him with a Taser. Cops further claimed that Price then reached for the Taser. Lucas said he feared for his life and responded by shooting and killing Price.
Body-camera footage of the incident was played at trial but never released to the public.
Three days after Lucas killed Price, he was charged with murder. Two days after that, he was fired from the Wolfe City police department, which said he committed an “egregious violation” of department policy.
Police were initially called to the convenience store over reports of a fight. Witness testimony left it unclear how or why the fight started, but it was over by the time Lucas arrived on the scene.
“Shaun Lucas was acquitted in rural Hunt County, Texas, by an all white jury,” Price family attorney Lee Merritt said. “At the time of [Price’s] murder he was unarmed and did not pose a threat to anyone. Every law enforcement professional that reviewed the facts concluded Lucas’ use of force was unjustified.”
Lucas’ defense lawyers argued he acted in self-defense and was scared Price would grab his Taser.
“That’s the only reason he fired his gun,” attorney Robert Rogers said.
With News Wire Services