The life of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was tragically cut short after he was shot by police while attempting to leave a house party in Balch Spring, Texas. The Root reports that the family of the Mesquite High School freshman now wants justice after authorities retracted their accounts of what transpired on the night of the shooting and withholding the name of the officer responsible for Jordan’s death.
Officers with the Balch Springs Police Department were dispatched to a home in the 12300 block of Baron Drive after receiving a 911 call on Saturday around 11 p.m. about “several teens walking around the neighborhood.”
A “large party” was purportedly taking place at the residence, but it was soon interrupted by gunfire while officers were conducting an investigation inside the home. They rushed outside and observed a vehicle “backing down the street toward the officers,” according to Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber, who added that the vehicle’s “aggressive manner” impelled an officer to open fire, shooting through the passenger’s window.
— Lecrae (@lecrae) May 2, 2017
Jordan, a passenger in the vehicle, was shot during the Balch Springs shooting, and he was pronounced dead just shortly after arriving at a local hospital. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office reported that Jordan was killed by a “rifle wound to the head” and ruled Jordan’s death a homicide.
Just two days after relaying to the public that the vehicle Jordan was killed in was reversing towards officers in an aggressive manner, the Balch Springs police changed their accounts on Jordan’s death after viewing footage from the Balch Springs shooting video, which has yet to be released to the public.
During a press conference Monday, Haber addressed the oversight without divulging where the information emanated from.
“I unintentionally was incorrect when I said the vehicle was backing down the road. According to the video, the vehicle was moving forward as the officer approached. In fact, I can tell you that I do have questions in relation to my observation of the video. After reviewing the video, I don’t believe that the Balch Springs shooting met our core values.”
Haber fought through tears as he offered his condolences to Jordan’s family.
“My heart just gets beat. If there’s something to be learned here, we can all learn it together and move forward together and find solutions how to fix what the problem is.”
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jordan’s family, stated that Jordan, along with his 16-year-old brother and their friends, attended a house party over the weekend, but they decided to leave before it ended after learning that officers with the Balch Springs Police Department were on their way.
When the teens exited the home, they noticed that the Balch Springs police were already outside with their flashing lights activated. As they made their way into the car and were attempting to back out of the parking space, they “heard someone yell profanities” before shots rang out. The driver of the vehicle, Jordan’s brother, fled the scene without noticing that Jordan had been shot.
About a block later, the teens realized that there was smoke emitting from Jordan’s head and pulled the vehicle over before flagging down an approaching police cruiser. While Jordan was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his head injury, his older brother was handcuffed and taken to jail even though he was not a suspect or facing any criminal charges.
The Balch Springs police stated that they kept Jordan’s brother overnight for questioning and released him the following morning—and that’s when he learned that Jordan was killed by police during the Balch Springs shooting.
During a news conference, Merritt stated that Jordan’s family is “declaring war on bad policing. This has happened far too often.”
“We are tired of making the same rhetorical demands, of having the same hash tags; our community is fed up with the same tired excuses, once again offered by Balch Springs Police Department yesterday. This was somehow the fault of the victims — teenage kids with no criminal records, with no motive to attempt to hurt anyone, with no evidence that they ever attempted to hurt anyone.”
“There were no weapons involved; there was no aggressive behavior; these were not suspects,” said Merritt.
“The lone motive they had for Jordan’s murder was that the vehicle was being used as a weapon, and now that is no longer there.”
— Duane Brown (@DuaneBrown76) May 2, 2017
“Another family ripped apart by police brutality,” Merritt wrote via Twitter.
“There was absolutely no justification for this murder. We demand justice!”
The officer responsible for Jordan’s death had been working for the Balch Springs Police Department for six years, and he was placed on administrative leave following the Balch Springs shooting.
The investigation into Jordan’s death is underway.
[Featured Image by S. Lee Merritt/Twitter]