Courts

In Hunt County, Former Police Officer Goes on Trial for Killing Jonathan Price in October 2020

The Wolfe City shooting came months after nationwide protests against police brutality.
The Wolfe City shooting came months after nationwide protests against police brutality. Michael Förtsch on Unsplash
The trial of former Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas, who fatally shot Jonathan Price nearly two years ago, has gotten underway, according to Hunt County court records.

The trial, with Judge Keli Aiken presiding in the 354th District Court, began with jury selection this week.

The former policeman, now 24, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Price, a Black man who was 31 years old at the time of the fatal shooting on Oct. 3, 2020, in Wolfe City, around 70 miles northeast of Dallas.

Contacted by phone, the Hunt County District Clerk’s office was unable to provide any additional comment on the trial.

Lucas is charged with murder, a first-degree felony charge that carries a sentence of between five and 99 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.

Toby Shook, one of Lucas’ attorneys, was unavailable for comment. Calls to other attorneys listed for Lucas went unreturned.

According to witnesses, Lucas shot Price after an altercation at a store. Price, who was unarmed, had reportedly broken up the altercation, but Lucas thought he was intoxicated and tried to arrest him.

Then, the officer shot Price four times in his torso. Just days later, the Wolfe City Police Department fired Lucas, saying in a press release that the officer “was terminated for his egregious violation of the City's and police department's policies.”

Investigating the incident, the Texas Rangers have described Lucas’ actions as “not objectivly reasonable.”

Speaking to the Observer last year, Price’s family said they hope Lucas is convicted and receives a life sentence.

“If Jonathan had to lose his future, his dreams, I feel Mr. Lucas should also suffer that,” his sister Sabrina said at the time.

Price's killing came on the heels of nationwide protests against police shootings. After a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd in May 2020, rallies and marches erupted in cities across the country and took place throughout the summer. 
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Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.