Wolfe City Residents Say Ex-Officer Was a Scourge of the Community Before He Shot Jonathan Price
Mourners attend a memorial service for Jonathan Price on the Wolfe City High School soccer field in Wolfe City, Texas on October 10, 2020. Price, 31, was fatally shot and killed by Wolfe City Police Officer Shaun Lucas on October 3, 2020 after Price allegedly tried to end a domestic dispute.
Last week, Shaun Lucas, a former Wolfe City, Texas police officer, was charged with the murder of 31-year-old Jonathan Price's October 3rd shooting. Now black residents of Wolfe City are speaking out, claiming that the night of the shooting, Lucas had already gained a reputation for being a harassing, antagonistic scourge in the community.
From the Washington Post:
The black residents of Wolfe City, a town of 1,400 people about 70 miles north of Dallas, warned each other about the "new cop" and the harassing behavior that a growing list of people had witnessed for minor violations who had been silent in silence would hardly raise an eyebrow community before Lucas arrived.
Residents say the 22-year-old officer was overly aggressive with his traffic surveillance and verbally abused long-time black locals. At least one former resident who had moved out of town resisted visiting her parents within the town limits just to avoid Lucas. Black men told the Post of antagonistic interactions with the officer after they were falsely arrested for public poisoning. Both white and black residents shared a Facebook post in August warning that "another mean cop" would "stop anything that moves at night."
"Where the hell did he come from?" A confused Veronica Brown interviewed this week while talking to her sister and daughter outside her home. "He's the worst cop Wolfe City has ever had."
Brown's cousin, James Alton Brown, said he was confused on an August day when Lucas ran after him for a quarter of a mile in a Chevy Suburban as the 65-year-old was walking home. Brown's walk was slow and laborious because of a severe limp. Lucas arrested him for public poisoning, records show.
"He thought I was drunk," said Brown. "So he put me in jail."
Brown said he tried to show the cop that he was drinking a lemonade, but Lucas accused him of resisting the arrest. The public poisoning fee was later dropped, according to the bail, but he still faces hundreds of dollars of resistance to charges and court fees.
"It wasn't fair," said Brown. "Why me?"
Lucas - who was released from Wolfe City Police Department Thursday, according to the Associated Press - had only been on duty for six months. More than a dozen people spoke to the Post about his behavior, and many felt that Lucas's methods of patrolling the city were not what residents are used to. Instead, they described the city as a city where "people know their police chief and sergeant by their first name," the Post reports.
They also said that under normal circumstances, officers patrolling the area would have known that Price was loved by the community and not a threat.
One of the most interesting things about this story is the fact that Price expressed a penchant for cops and a little disdain for "anti-cop rhetoric" on social media. According to the Post, residents even referred to him as "one of those Wolfe City offspring who embraced the friendly" no color "ideal that residents say they love."
All of this makes a little more sense once you realize that a number of Wolfe City residents seem to have been under the illusion that racism isn't and never will be a major factor in their community.
More from the post:
"It just made me sick," said Cindy Stewart, who is White and has long lived. Lucas "isn't even from here."
Wolfe City is a predominantly white city, with roughly one in five black or Hispanic American. But residents suffer from a collective grief that goes beyond race, said Clarissa Brown, a black woman and a friend of the Price family. She said she grew up in a place that felt isolated from the overt racist bigotry that the cotton belt of north Texas would historically produce.
Generations of white and black children went to school together, played soccer side by side, and marched down the main street to come home as one body. Wolfe City is too small to harbor hatred, Brown said.
"When the whites hurt, the blacks hurt too," Brown said. “If blacks hurt here, whites do it too.
Perhaps that's why Price seemed so safe with cops and whites in general. Perhaps living in a small town where such shootings just don't happen allowed Price and other Wolfe City residents to forget about the rest of the racist and violent world - until that world came to them.
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