Image: Parker County Sheriff’s Office/AP.
In a move departing with the ordinary, a Texas jury indicted former Balch Springs Police Department Officer Roy Oliver for murder in the April shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — who was unarmed, but fatally shot, while riding in a car with his friends, leaving a party.
Additionally, the grand jury’s indictment includes four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public official, for his having fired into a car full of teenagers, the Associated Press reports.
“We’re looking forward to a conviction and proper sentencing,” Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys for the family of the slain teen, told the AP; adding the unusual indictment represents “one step on the road to justice.”
Oliver got the department’s boot in May, shortly after the fatal shooting, for violating policy — as evidence also mounted that his actions appeared criminal, rather than simply negligent or defensive. A murder charge followed less than one week after the fatal shooting.
Oliver and other officers responded to reports of cars blocking driveways and possible underage drinking by around 100 teenagers partying in a house — many of whom scattered as soon as the cops arrived.
Officers and neighbors then heard unrelated and possibly low-caliber shots ring out, around the same time Edwards and his friends also drove away the scene. But the unrelated gunfire — and haphazard connection to the vehicle carrying the teens — fatefully sealed Edwards’ fate when Oliver began firing his rifle into the car.
Bullets smashed through the windshield — hitting the unarmed and wholly innocent teen in the head, killing him.
Image: Mesquite High School Yearbook/CNN.
Initially, Police Chief Jonathan Haber vomited the standard impunity-granting excuse so nauseatingly common from America’s perpetually-terrified police forces in similarly grievous killings: the I-feared-for-my-life defense — stating the car carrying Edwards had been heading “aggressively toward” Oliver.
But Haber drastically changed his tune with the release of body cam footage of the incident — ultimately terminating Oliver’s employment.
“They were immediately treated as common criminals by other officers,” Merritt, the attorney, continued, “manhandled, intimidated and arrested while their brother lay dying in the front seat.”
Anything short of extensive prison time, the lawyer asserted, would not be adequate punishment for the officer’s inexplicable, unjustifiable actions.
It isn’t as if Oliver broke departmental policy just once, either, as the AP notes,
“Last month, Oliver was indicted on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant in an unrelated incident, where he is accused of displaying a gun during a traffic accident. Oliver was off duty in Dallas when another vehicle rear-ended his and, according to a police report, he pulled his service weapon and kept it pointed at the ground.
“A Dallas officer who responded to the incident, which happened two weeks before Oliver shot Edwards, didn’t file charges. Prosecutors later sought charges, though, saying the Dallas incident ‘showed a pattern of behavior.’”
For now, Dallas News reports Oliver has been released on $700,000 bail — virtually unheard of for civilians accused of murder — though apparently acceptable when the alleged killer happened to sport a badge and State-issued firearm.
Attorneys and Edwards’ loved ones are optimistic the indictment will lead to conviction — and plenty of time behind prison walls — for the cop who apparently resorted to deadly force where no force at all would have been acceptable.
Image: Dallas Morning News.
In their first public interview following the teen’s killing, parents Charmaine and Odell Edwards opined their son had been an honor student who got along well with everyone — and didn’t deserve worse treatment than even a ‘common’ criminal.
If given the opportunity, Odell remarked in the interview with CBS News, he would tell Oliver,
“You killed an innocent kid that loved life, that would’ve made you even smile if you knew him.”
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Contributed by Claire Bernish of The Daily Sheeple.