A white police officer who shot and killed a 31-year-old Black man in Texas two years ago and whose response was deemed “not objectively reasonable” was acquitted of murder by an all-white jury, reports the New York Times. Officer Shaun Lucas shot Jonathan Price four times in the torso on Oct. 3, 2020, after responding to reports of a fight at a gas station in Wolfe City, a small town northeast of Dallas. Price tried to break up the quarrel, but was almost detained after he was believed to be involved in the altercation. When Price told the officer he would not be detained, Lucas tried to use a Taser. When Price reached out and allegedly grabbed the Taser, Lucas then pulled out his gun and shot him. Price's lawyer, Lee Merritt, claimed Price was only extending his hand. Price died shortly after being taken to Hunt Regional Hospital.
The Wolfe City Police Department put Lucas on administrative leave and then fired him. The Texas Rangers, a state law enforcement unit that investigates shootings involving officers, arrested him two days later for actions they condemned. Price had “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” the Rangers said about the confrontation. Price’s death followed a string of deaths in 2020 in which white police officers killed Black people, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, whose names became synonymous with protests over social justice and increased consciousness about institutional racism. Lucas’s acquittal “goes against the weight of the evidence and leaves Black Texans exposed to state-sanctioned violence,” Merritt said. Lucas, now 24, spent the past two years in jail and was released after the jury issued its verdict.