Police Chief Fires Officer Who Shot And Killed Black Texas Teenager

Cheryl Sanders
May 6, 2017

Officer Roy Oliver of the Balch Springs Police department in suburban Dallas fired at a vehicle Jordan Edwards was riding in with his two brothers and friends. Oliver spotted the auto carrying Edwards, his two brothers and two other teens.

On the night of the incident, police had been called to an address in Dallas, Texas, to investigate a complaint of underage drinking and spotted the vehicle leaving.

"Firing the officer who killed #JordanEdwards is a good start but if I murdered someone at work, firing would be the least of my concerns", family lawyer Lee Merritt said on Twitter. His 16-year-old brother was driving.

According to Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber, Oliver said he fired at the vehicle as it was reversing toward him in "an aggressive manner". The incident, which is receiving national media attention, is being investigated by the Dallas County Sheriff's Office.

Officers on the scene had stated that the vehicle was reversing toward them in an "aggressive manner", and that, resultantly, one officer fired his shotgun at the auto, fatally shooting Edwards.

Haber went on to say that the actions he saw taken by the officer did not meet the department's core values.

The police didn't detail Oliver's violations, saying he is entitled to appeal his firing and that the Dallas County district attorney together with the Dallas County sheriff's office are now investigating the case.

This photo shows the intersection of Baron and Shepherd Lane on Monday, May 1, 2017, near where the shooting of 15 year-old Jordan Edwards by a police officer happened in Balch Springs, Texas on Saturday.

Even before Oliver, who is white, was publicly identifed Tuesday, the killing of an unarmed black teenager had stirred allegations of prejudice familiar from other fatal police shootings nationwide. The statement thanked Haber for his "strides toward justice" and indicated that they were "grateful" that Oliver had been fired.

Jordan's family pleaded with the public not to march or protest and to abstain from threatening the Balch Springs Police Department. "It's just unbelievable. It's absolutely unbelievable that a department did what a department should do".

The Edwards family told what happened next in a written statement released by Merritt Tuesday, before Oliver was sacked.

"The family is in it for the long haul", Merritt said.

"Our prayers are with the family of Jordan Edwards and our hope is his untimely death will not be in vain". After heading into the house to try to break up the party, the chief said Oliver heard gunshots outside.

That's "my inability to get all the facts like I should have", Haber said. It took a few moments before the people inside in the auto noticed Edwards slumped over, she said. They couldn't tell if he was already dead.

The brother who was driving pulled over and tried to motion to police for help, she said.

Crockett said Jordan was a teenager who was both interested in academics and sports.

Edwards' family asks for space to grieve, noting that Edwards' two brothers witnessed the shooting. Haber's initial account said the teen behind the wheel at first backed down the street but was fleeing the scene when the officer opened fire. Now the chief claims that Oliver fired his weapon while the vehicle was moving forward which was definitely against the rules. The video has not been released.

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