Texas Cop Who Killed Jordan Edwards Charged With Murder

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 18, 2017

On April 29, then-officer Roy Oliver shot and killed unarmed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Yesterday (July 17), Oliver (37), who was formerly employed by the Balch Springs (Texas) Police Department, was indicted for that fatal shooting.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a Dallas County grand jury indicted Oliver, who is White, on a murder charge as well as four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant for shooting in a car that held five teenagers.

As Colorlines previously reported following the shooting:

On April 29, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards attended a house party in Balch Springs, a Dallas, Texas, suburb. After hearing gunshots, he and four other teens headed to their car. Moments later, a still unnamed officer with the Balch Springs Police Department shot through a passenger side window and shot the unarmed Black teen in the head. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The police department issued a statement via Facebook the next day, saying that officers were responding to a 911 call about drunk underage kids. The statement says the cops heard gunshots, then engaged in an “unknown altercation with a vehicle backing down the street towards the officers in an aggressive manner.”

Yesterday (May 1), the department released an updated statement about the shooting, saying that the vehicle was actually moving forward—away from law enforcement—when the officer shot Edwards, who was in the front passenger seat.

The change in narrative came after Balch Springs police Chief Jonathan Haber watched body camera footage that showed the trajectory of the car. “After reviewing the video,” Haber said at a press conference yesterday (May 1), “I don’t believe that [the shooting] met our core values.”

Family attorney Lee Merritt told press that he is pleased with the indictment. “Far too often we see cases where there’s been a lack of comparable effort in cases that are equally deserving,” he said. “We are satisfied with this step.”

Per The Dallas Morning News, Oliver was indicted last month on two unrelated aggravated assault charges for allegedly pulling a gun on civilians during a road rage altercation ahead of killing Edwards. Dallas County district attorney Michael Snipes said at the time that Oliver is “very, very likely a danger to the community.” Each of the seven pending felony charges could reportedly carry a life sentence, and prosecutors will first prosecute him for killing Edwards. Oliver is currently free on a $700,000 bond.