The above photo is Roy Oliver, the now-former Balch Springs police officer accused of shooting 15-year old Jordan Edwards on Saturday night. It took three days for Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber to announce the firing of Roy Oliver after body cams revealed that several policies were broken during the encounter that led to the fatal shooting of Jordan Edwards.
“From our policies, which I went by, there were violations. I acted on them,” Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said during a press conference on Tuesday evening.
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It was also revealed that Roy Oliver can appeal to have his job reinstated within 10 days of his firing. The actual policy violations that Oliver is accused of violating have not been made public.
“The past 67 hours have been challenging for all us,” Haber said. “My heartfelt condolences to the parents of Jordan Edwards, and we support them in their time of need.”
“You have my assurances my department will continue to be responsive, transparent and accountable.”
The Saturday night shooting that led to the death of Jordan Edwards happened after Balch Springs police responded to a call about possible underage drinking at a party. When police arrived, there were reports of shots being fired, causing the teenagers to scatter.
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Initially, it was reported that an officer fired on the car Jordan Edwards was riding in because it was reversing in an “aggressive manner” toward a police vehicle. The New York Times reported that that account changed after body camera footage was reviewed, proving that the car was actually doing just the opposite. At the time of the shooting, the car was moving forward and did not pose a threat to police.
It was determined that Roy Oliver shot Jordan Edwards with a high powered rifle, hitting the teen in the head. Edwards was sitting in the front passenger seat of the vehicle at the time.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the Edwards family, was pleased with the response from Police Chief Jonathan Haber for his work to uncover the truth of what happened to Jordan Edwards on Saturday night and to admit that there were many violations in the shooting death of the teen.
“There were no weapons involved; there was no aggressive behavior; these were not suspects,” Merritt told the New York Times. “The lone motive they had for the murder was that the vehicle was being used as a weapon, and now that is no longer there.”
An updated statement was published to the Balch Springs Police Department on Monday evening. The entire statement can be read below. One change to the initial report worth noting said as follows.
“The vehicle then pulled forward as the officer continued to approach the vehicle giving verbal commands. The vehicle continued the main roadway driving away from the officer as an officer shot into the vehicle striking the passenger.”
Merritt said that the Balch Springs Police Department’s change to the initial report was a “hopeful sign” regarding transparency in the officer involved shooting of Jordan Edwards.
“They have a dead child, they have the identity of the shooter, and they have no explanation for the shooting,” Merritt said. “They have more than sufficient probable cause to make an arrest.”
Since learning that the now-fired officer Roy Oliver’s initial report did not match the footage of the body cameras that he and another officer were wearing at the time of the incident, there has been a call for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office to file charges against Oliver.
The shooting death of Jordan Edwards is being investigated by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office as both have launched criminal investigations to determine what charges, if any, will be issued against Roy Oliver for his conduct on Saturday night.
In the meantime, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus has issued a statement that says the following.
“Once again our nation has been gripped with the death of an unarmed African-American teenager after what seemingly appeared to be the aggressive tactics of a law enforcement official. While the investigation is still ongoing, we must face the fact that we have lost another young black male at the hands of a law enforcement official.”
According to the Washington Post, Jordan Edwards is the 333rd person shot by police in 2017, and so far, he is also the youngest.
Jordan Edwards was 15-years-old and a freshman at Mesquite High School. An active member of the football team, he was described as an A-student and an ambitious athlete. Edwards was said to be an all-around great kid who was well liked by coaches, teachers, and students.
Balch Springs police officers have been instructed not to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation into the shooting death of Jordan Edwards. Likewise, the Inquisitr called the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office only to be told that there is no additional information available regarding the possible arrest of Roy Oliver and that there is an active criminal investigation into the incident.
[Featured Image by Balch Springs Police Department/Facebook]