DALLAS (CN) — The mother of Jonathan Price, an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed at a Texas convenience store after he tried to walk away from a police officer, brought a federal complaint Friday.
Marcella Louis sued former police officer Shaun Lucas, 24, and the city of Wolfe City in Dallas for violations of her son’s Fourth Amendment rights and wrongful death.
She claims Lucas responded to a Kwick Check store on Oct. 3, 2020, after reports of a fight. According to the complaint, there was a brief tussle after Price, 31, bumped into someone, and a woman jumped onto his back, but it was quickly broken up without injuries. She says Price then approached Lucas, asked him how he was and extended his hand to shake.
“Officer Lucas declined to shake hands and stated his intent to detain Mr. Price because he believed him to be intoxicated,” the seven-page complaint states. “Mr. Price stated that he ‘can’t be detained’ because he had done nothing wrong and began to walk away from Officer Lucas.”
Louis claims Price was not aggressive and posed no danger to Lucas, who fired his Taser at Price and then followed up with his gun, firing into Price’s chest four times.
“Officer Lucas was not in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death at the time that he shot Mr. Price,” the complaint states. “There was no justification for Officer Lucas to use lethal force against Mr. Price.”
The lawsuit echoes findings made by the Texas Rangers, who arrested Lucas after the shooting and charged him with murder.
“The preliminary investigation indicated that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable,” the Rangers said at the time.
Louis claimed police did not let her approach her dying son after she rushed to the gas station after the shooting.
“They wouldn’t let me get close to my baby,” she said at the time. “I just wanted to hold his hand and they wouldn’t let me do that. I just wanted to crawl over there to him."
Louis told ABC-affiliate WFAA after the shooting that Lucas “didn’t have to shoot” her son.
“I know he was trained to do more than just tase him and shoot him,” she said at the time. “He didn't deserve that."
Wolfe City is in Hunt County and is approximately 70 miles northeast of Dallas. Lucas was one of only three officers in the police force, according to the city. Lucas was fired three days after the shooting after what the city called an “egregious violation” of department policies. Price was also a city employee at the time of his killing.
Lucas is currently being held on $1 million bond. He was transferred this week from jail in Collin County to Hunt County in preparation for his murder trial that is scheduled to being on Sept. 12.
Louis is represented by John Coyle and Mark Maguire with McEldrew Young in Philadelphia.
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