Texan police officer fired after murder rap
The white Texas police officer charged for the murder of a Black man last weekend was fired Thursday, one day after the release of an affidavit that detailed the fatal incident outside a convenience store.
The city of Wolfe City said in a statement that Officer Shaun Lucas “was terminated for his egregious violation of the City’s and police department’s policies.” According to the affidavit, released by the Texas Rangers, Jonathan Price offered a handshake to Lucas and asked if he was “doing good” as the officer arrived to respond to a disturbance call.
The entire interaction was captured on a body camera, according to the affidavit, but the footage has not been released.
Lucas was arrested and charged with murder on Monday. He was booked into the Hunt County Jail, where his bail was set at $1 million, according to jail records.
Price, a former Hardin-Simmons University student and football player, has been described by neighbors as a “pillar of the community.”
On the night of the shooting, Lucas was greeted by Price at the scene, according to an affidavit. Price asked Lucas “you doing good?” several times while offering a handshake.
Price then apologized for the broken glass on the ground, explaining that someone tried to “wrap me up,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said Lucas believed Price was intoxicated and tried to detain him.
“I can’t be detained,” Price said as Lucas tried to grab his arm and give orders. The Texas Rangers said Price resisted “in a non-threatening posture” and began to walk away when Lucas deployed his Taser, which wasn’t fully effective.
Price then walked toward Lucas and appeared to try to grab the end of the Taser gun, the affidavit said.
That’s when Lucas fired his service weapon four times, striking Price in the upper torso, according to the affidavit. He later died at a local hospital.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the Texas Rangers said in a statement Monday.
Lee Merritt, an attorney representing Price’s family, said Thursday that the family was relieved to hear Lucas was fired but thought it should have happened sooner.
Also, Merritt said he didn’t believe the affidavit’s claim that Price attempted to reach for the Taser because witnesses have said he was “too far away” from Lucas.
Price’s “muscle movements at that point were involuntary, so he wasn’t reaching for anything consciously,” Merritt added.
There is no appeal process available for Lucas to challenge his firing, John Snider, an attorney for Lucas, said Thursday.
Another attorney for Lucas, Robert L. Rogers, told USA TODAY on Tuesday that his client discharged his weapon “in accordance with Texas law.”
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