Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Family wants justice, not protests for teen killed by Balch Springs PD

The Latest: Police err in statement on Texas teen's shooting Jordan Edwards shooting: Texas police change account of death
Christy Curtis | 18 May, 2017, 10:43

The above photo is Roy Oliver, the now-former Balch Springs police officer accused of shooting 15-year old Jordan Edwards on Saturday night.

Edwards was in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was driving away from a house party in a Dallas suburb, where police were responding to a report of drunk teenagers.

The officer, identified as Roy Oliver, a six-year veteran of the Balch Springs Police Department in suburban Dallas, "violated several departmental policies", the department said. But Police Chief Jonathon Haber said two bodycam videos showed that the vehicle was driving away from the officers.

"We do not support nor do we condone any violence or threats made against the Balch Springs Police Department or any other law enforcement agencies", Edwards' family said in a statement.

Edwards' family also praised Haber's decision to fire Oliver, but added that they "anxiously await" the officer's arrest for the "crime of murder". The Dallas County district attorney's and sheriff's offices are investigating the shooting.

Lee Merritt, the Edwards family's attorney, has said that neither Edwards nor any of the other four teens in the vehicle were drinking at the party, none of them were armed with a weapon and none of them were initially sought by police. Edwards and the four people with him chose to leave what was becoming an unruly party as they heard gunfire and police were arriving, Merritt said, citing what witnesses had told lawyers.

Merritt says that Edwards - a high-achieving student and a popular athlete - and the other four teenagers in the vehicle, were not carrying weapons.

While police-community relations are strained, here, and in many parts of the United States, Merchant says that the Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber seems to be sympathetic in this tense situation. Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was fatally struck in the head. Edwards' parents are calling for the officer to be arrested. Video showed the vehicle was backing away and Oliver shot into the auto, hitting Edwards.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber appears to be acting swiftly to mitigate any controversy over the shooting, particularly after the department changed its version of events.

Merritt has told CNN that, at this time, Jordan's family wishes to grieve privately until after the funeral. Jackson said, "Their boy was brutally murdered, violently murdered in front of his brothers".

The department said officers approached the teen who lived in the house, but then exited the home "to investigate gunshots". "I unintentionally [was] incorrect yesterday when I said the vehicle was backing down the road". Grief counselors were made available at Mesquite High School, because Edwards was such a well-known, well-liked member of the community, Merritt said. Merritt, speaking to the New York Times Monday, said this development was "a big deal" for the investigation moving forward. "The magnitude of his disgusting actions can not be overstated", said the family statement released by attorney S. Lee Merritt.

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and Dallas County Integrity Unit are also holding separate investigations into the incident.

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