Bodycam video released shows acquitted North Texas ex-cop shooting unarmed Black man
Nearly one week after a jury acquitted him, Hunt County released body camera footage showing former Wolfe City officer Shaun Lucas fatally shooting an unarmed 31-year-old man, Jonathan Price.
Lucas was charged with murdering Price in October 2020, and his use-of-force response was deemed "not objectively reasonable" by the Texas Rangers after a review of the footage.
However, a jury in Hunt County found Lucas not guilty last Thursday.
After the video was released Tuesday night, the attorney representing Price's family, who is also suing Wolfe City and Lucas civilly, said prosecutors and investigators got it right and that the jury got it wrong.
"Unfortunately, the result that we saw from that jury simply doesn't match what we see in the video," attorney Lee Merritt said.
Added Merritt: "This video was literally a smoking gun piece of evidence in this case."
Merritt said he has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice review the shooting to see if any federal charges should be brought against Lucas.
He's also asking that the DOJ review how the case was handled from gavel to gavel, specifically regarding jury selection.
Per Merritt, no resident from Wolfe City -- where Price was well-known and a respected football star -- was selected for the jury,
He also said that all members of the final jury were white.
"I believe race was a factor in the jury's decision," Merritt said. "Hunt County is a lot more diverse than what was reflected in an all-white jury."
On Oct. 3, 2020, Lucas responded to a reported fight at a gas station in town.
When he arrived, he approached Price, who was wearing a green shirt. Price shook his hand and greeted Lucas.
"You doing good?" Price asked.
"Stay right there, you understand me?" Lucas replied.
Lucas suspected Price was involved in the fight after Price apologized for some broken glass outside the gas station.
"You do this?" Lucas asked.
"I didn't do this, but he tried to wrap me up and sh*t," Price said.
Merritt said that Price was only trying to break up the fight.
Lucas then tried to detain Price.
"I can't be detained right now," Price said.
Price can be seen walking away from Lucas. Lucas then pulled his taser and deployed it when Price didn't comply.
The taser hit Price in the back, at which point he began to struggle -- although he was still standing.
Lucas then told Price to get on the ground while approaching him. Price started moving slowly toward Lucas, who was still affected by the taser.
Price then raised his right hand toward the taser, and Lucas opened fire with his service weapon, striking Price four times.
Merritt told WFAA that Price was merely extending his hand toward Lucas.
In court, Lucas' attorneys argued that their client opened fire because Price was trying to grab the taser.
On Tuesday night, Lucas attorney Robert Rogers stood by that defense.
“The body-worn camera footage shows Shaun give 20 loud, clear commands while exhausting all reasonable force options to gain compliance," Rogers said in a statement. "Tragically, when Mr. Price grabbed his taser, [Lucas] had no other options. The jury reviewed and analyzed this same video when they acquitted Shaun."
Merritt said his request for the DOJ to review jury selection procedures is fueled by racial tensions that Hunt County has endured for some time.
Greenville's town slogan at one point from 1921 to the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s was, "The Blackest Land, the Whitest People."
The Southern Poverty Law Center also reports that the Hunt County city of Quinlan was the headquarters for the Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan as recently as 2017.
In 2019, the Dallas Morning News reported that fliers with info for the Texas Rebel Knights were thrown onto more than 80 driveways in Wolfe City.
"We want to know if there were Black jurors who were present for voir dire, who was struck, and if they were struck for cause or they were struck for some other reason or if they were targeted," Merritt said. "We want to know if enough Black residents were invited to participate in the jury selection process."