(Reuters) – A white police officer in Texas has been charged with murder following the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old Black man, Jonathan Price, a state law enforcement agency said.
The police officer was responding to a disturbance call on Oct. 3 when he sought to detain Price, who “resisted in a non-threatening posture and began walking away,” according to a statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Shaun Lucas of the Wolfe City Police Department first deployed his Taser before shooting Price with his service weapon, the statement said. Price was transported to the hospital, where he later died.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectively reasonable,” the statement said, adding that the Texas Rangers have charged Lucas with murder.
The incident raised the possibility that Wolfe, a city of 1,500 people in North Texas, would become the latest flashpoint in a national uprising over racism and police brutality that was set off by the death of George Floyd on May 25.
“Everyone in this community will echo that this shouldn’t have happened to Jonathan, because of the character that he had,” civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the Price family, told a news conference on Monday. “However, this shouldn’t happen to anybody and it happens far too often to unarmed Black men, particularly in North Texas.”
Lucas, who was arrested and jailed on $1 million bond, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Wolfe City Police Department and Hunt County district attorney’s office, which are both helping with the investigation into the shooting, did not respond to requests for comment.