The North Star has dropped its paywall during this COVID-19 crisis so that pertinent information and analysis is available to everyone during this time. This is only possible because of the generous support of our members. We rely on these funds to pay our staff to continue to provide high-quality content. If you are able to support, we invite you to do so here.
I have worked on hundreds of cases of police brutality.
When families come to me asking for help in achieving justice for their loved one who has been egregiously harmed or murdered, I give it everything I have.
Something I have seen happen time and time again is the media attempt to deter justice by dredging up the past of these victims. They demonize Black men, women and children in an attempt to justify their deaths. I saw this with Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown and countless others. I saw it happen with Breonna Taylor and, in many ways, it continues to happen.
I want to be clear.
There is no criteria for who deserves justice when they’ve been slain by police. When I take on a case, I have already decided that I do not care what the victim I’m fighting for has or hasn’t done.
Trayvon Martin was not in a gang like the media rumored he was, but if he had been, I still would have fought for him.
Breonna Taylor was not a drug dealer like the police claimed she was, but if she had been, I still would have fought for her.
Humans are flawed. There is no “perfect victim,” and that is why we must fight for Jonathan Price.
In the rural town of Wolfe City, Texas, Jonathan was known as an inspirational leader.
He was a mentor to many. He spoke at rallies and sporting events, and worked as a personal trainer. He was beloved and respected by many.
As a Black man, Jonathan was seen as a bridge builder between the Black and white communities of his small town. Part of this bridge building involved maintaining a good relationship with the local police, and that’s exactly what Jonathan did.
On Oct. 3, the same police murdered him.
ABC News reported that Jonathan was attempting to break up a domestic dispute he witnessed at a local gas station when police arrived on the scene. After tasering Jonathan, officers then shot and killed him.
This case is like far too many others we’ve seen –brutal and gravely unjust. Yet many people who call themselves activists are saying Jonathan does not deserve our help because of a Facebook post he made voicing his support for police. Up until that point, he’d only had positive experiences with them.
He, of course, had no way of knowing they would be the ones to take his life.
Jonathan is just as deserving of our support as any other victim of police violence. He did not deserve to die, and does not deserve to be disregarded because of a random Facebook post he made.
On today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun unpacks and explains who Jonathan was and why we should fight for him.