Former Texas officer indicted for murder in death of unarmed 15-year-old

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A former Dallas-area police officer was indicted Monday on murder and other charges in a deadly April encounter in which authorities said he fired at a car, killing an unarmed black 15-year-old passenger.

Roy Oliver, 37, formerly of the Balch Springs police department, was indicted by a grand jury on one count of murder in the death of Jordan Edwards and four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant in connection with the four other people in the car, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said.

Police officials say Roy Oliver (pictured), then a Balch Springs officer, killed Jordan Edwards as the teen rode in a car with his step-brother and brother on April 29, 2017 after leaving a house party.
Credit: Parker County Sheriff’s

Oliver, who is white, “discharged multiple rounds from his patrol rifle as the vehicle drove past him” on April 29, according to an arrest warrant. One bullet struck Jordan as the teenager rode in the car with the group, including two brothers.

The five were driving away from a house party after reportedly hearing shots. Jordan, an honor student and standout athlete at Mesquite High School, near Dallas, died from a fatal gunshot wound to the head, the Dallas County medical examiner’s office said.

“I have a personal guarantee to Jordan, his family, this community that we will prosecute this case vigorously,” Johnson told reporters. “This to me is the first step to healing this community, and hopefully rebuilding the community.”

Cindy Stormer, who was previously listed as Oliver’s attorney, could not be reached on Monday.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber fired Oliver, a 6-year veteran of the department, shortly after the shooting, with the department saying the officer “violated several departmental policies.” Oliver has a right to appeal the firing, the department said after his dismissal.

The firing of Oliver on May 2 came a day after Haber admitted he “misspoke” when he said the car Jordan was in was moving “aggressively” toward police — leading one officer to fire his rifle toward the car.

Haber later said the body camera footage showed the car was driving forward — away from the officers, not reversing towards them.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber initially said a car was moving “aggressively” toward officers when one of them fired into it Saturday night, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, but the chief told reporters Monday he “misspoke.”
Credit: S. Lee Merritt, attorney

At the time of Oliver’s arrest, a spokeswoman for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said the arrest warrant was issued because evidence suggested Oliver “intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death of an individual.”

Johnson said it was the first time authorities there had issued an arrest warrant for an officer before the case was presented to the grand jury.

Johnson said Oliver remains free on $700,000 bond.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of either murder or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant — both first-degree felonies.

The shooting death of Edwards was one of several deaths of black males at the hands of police nationwide. The deaths have spawned protests and fueled a national conversation on police conduct.

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