Texas officer charged with murder in shooting of 15yo honor roll student
UPDATE: An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver over the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. He has been charged with murder.
A statement from the Dallas County Sheriff's Office states the warrant was issued “due to evidence that suggested Mr. Oliver intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death of an individual,"according to KHOU.
The incident occurred Monday, when Oliver fired into a car of teenagers as they were attempting to drive away from a party. Edwards was shot in the head and later died from his injuries at a local hospital. No other injuries were reported.
Oliver was initially placed on administrative leave over the incident and was in the process of turning himself in Friday, according to WFAA.
Police Chief Jonathan Haber confirmed the firing of Oliver on Tuesday evening, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, Haber said he reviewed officer body-camera footage of the April 29 shooting and determined that the initial account of that night given by the department was incorrect.
The suburban Dallas department had said Sunday in a news release that the car, in which 15-year-old Edwards was the front-seat passenger, was "backing down the street towards the officers in an aggressive manner." The department offered a revised account on Monday, declaring that the car had backed "into the main roadway," then "pulled forward as the officer continued to approach the vehicle giving verbal commands." The vehicle did not stop, driving away from the officer, prompting the cop to fire a rifle into the vehicle.
Edwards was shot in the head and died later at a local hospital.
Lee Merritt, the Edwards family's attorney, has said that neither Edwards nor any of the other four teens in the car were drinking at the party, none of them were armed with a weapon and none of them were initially sought by police.
The officer, who has not been named, has been placed on administrative duty. The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office are handing the investigation of the shooting.
"It did not meet our core values," Chief Haber said of the shooting on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Haber added that he will not release footage of the shooting while the investigation is ongoing.
None of the other passengers in the car were injured, nor are they facing charges, according to Merritt.
Balch Springs police were sent to a house party at about 11:00pm on April 29 after a 911 call reported "several underage kids drunk walking around."
In its revised account of that night, the department said officers arrived on the scene "and discovered a large party" that, according to the Morning News, included about 100 teens, some of whom were blocking driveways outside. Many of them scattered when police arrived.
Trayvon can't have skittles. Sandra Bland can't smoke a cigarette. Eric Garner can't sell a cigarette. #JordanEdwards can't go to a party...— IG: tonylcaldwell (@tonycaldwell) May 2, 2017
The department said officers approached the teen who lived in the house, but then exited the home "to investigate gunshots." Neighbors told the Morning News that about three shots came from what sounded like a pistol, but no one has reported seeing who fired those shots.
Cop who killed Jordan Edwards responded to underage drinking with a RIFLE. Militarization of the police only leads to death. #jordanedwards— Suhail Mohammed (@shadowwraiths) May 1, 2017
"Officers confronted a vehicle backing down the street," the revised account says, but, despite officer commands, the car did not stop. The officer then fired into the vehicle as it drove away from the scene.
The Edwards family wants the officer responsible to be arrested and charged, according to Merritt, in what the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled a homicide.
Let's be clear that #JordanEdwards could've been an academic failure, disrespectful, with a juvenile record and still didn't deserve this.— Francisco-Luis White (@FranciscoLWhite) May 2, 2017
By all accounts, Edwards was a well-liked and respected freshman at Mesquite High School, where he was an accomplished student and athlete.
"We've heard excuses before in the past: You know why it happens, because the dads aren't present. That excuse isn't here," Merritt said Monday at a news conference with the family. "Or the kid was violent. That excuse isn't present here."
The boy's parents, Charmaine and Odell Edwards, did not speak about their son or the shooting during the news conference, the Morning News reported.
***Please Read This and Respect the Request of the Family!*** pic.twitter.com/t6kaOXn9yQ— S. Lee Merritt (@MeritLaw) May 2, 2017
The family said in a statement that "Jordan was a loving child, with a humble and sharing spirit."
"The bond that he shared with his family, particularly his siblings, was indescribable. Not only have Jordan's brothers lost their best friend; they witnessed firsthand his violent, senseless, murder," they said, adding that they do not condone violence or threats against the Balch Springs Police Department.
There was no reason for the officer to use deadly force in this situation, Merritt said Sunday, adding that Edwards and the other teens in the car were attempting to leave the party upon hearing gunfire.
"They were simply leaving a party where they believed danger was, so I can't wrap my mind around why an officer decided to shoot into the car," Merritt said, according to WFAA.
Merritt had expressed suspicion of the police department's original version of events prior to Haber's revised account of the shooting. The initial account, Merritt said Sunday, "will not hold water when the facts come out."
The family has set up a Jordan Edwards Memorial Fund for contributions.