Date: April 29, 2017
Officer: Roy Oliver (shooter) and Tyler Gross
Charged: Yes, 15 years prison for murder and $10,000
Jordan Edwards was at a party with his two brothers and two friends in Balch Springs, Texas, on April 29, 2017, when rumors of the police being called were announced, so they went into their car and tried to leave. A neighbor had called 911 to report that there were drunk teens in the street and suspected more underage drinking at the party. Officers Roy Oliver and Tyler Gross arrived at the scene and went inside the house to look for the homeowner. While they were inside, they heard gunshots outside, causing all the teens to panic and run. Gross started to run to where he suspected the shots to be coming from, while Oliver went to his patrol car to retrieve his rifle. Edwards’ step brother, Vidal Allen, was trying to get everyone home safely, so he started to reverse away from the house. Gross shined his flashlight at the car, but Allen didn’t think it was a police officer because of Gross’ use of profanity and the fact that he couldn’t see who was behind the flashlight. Gross caught up to the car and punched the back passenger window, causing it to break. Oliver believed that Gross’ life was in danger, so he shot five shots at the car. Allen said he heard gunshots and started to drive away from the officers when he was stopped by other officers. He looked to the side realized that Edwards wasn’t responding and was bleeding. The other officers ordered the boys to get out of the car with their hands up and start walking backwards towards the patrol car. Allen and the boys were handcuffed, and he asked one of the officers to pray with him for his brother. Edwards was taken to the hospital and died from a gunshot injury to his head. He was 15 years old.
After the shooting, the Balch Springs Police Chief said the car was moving “aggressively” towards the officers. He then viewed the bodycam footage and admitted he was wrong. Officer Gross’ bodycam footage showed that the car was moving away from him when Oliver shot at the car. Oliver was fired from the force shortly after the bodycam footage was reviewed. He was charged with murder and four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.
During Oliver’s trial for the murder charge and two aggravated assault charges, Officer Gross was asked if he believed his life was in danger, to which he said he didn’t believe so. He added that he believed the use of the gun was unnecessary. When Oliver was asked by the Dallas County Assistant Attorney whether he was “trying to kill or seriously injure the driver of the vehicle,” Oliver said, “That was one of the threats, yes.” The Attorney clarified, “So yes is the answer to that?” Oliver said, “Correct.” After 12 hours of jury deliberation, Oliver was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years and $10,000, which means that he’s eligible for parole after 7.5 years.
Associated Press. (2018, August 23). Fired Texas officer who killed boy testifies he had no choice but to shoot at car full of teens. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/fired-texas-cop-who-killed-boy-testifies-he-had-no-n903341
BBC. (2018, August 30). Roy Oliver: Ex-police officer jailed for Jordan Edwards shooting. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45352610
Karimi, F., & Grinberg, E. (2018, August 30). Texas ex-officer is sentenced to 15 years for killing an unarmed teen. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/29/us/texas-jordan-edwards-death-sentencing-phase/index.html
Lockhart, P., & Lopez, G. (2018, August 30). Former Texas police officer sentenced to 15 years for 2017 shooting of Jordan Edwards. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/8/28/17793056/jordan-edwards-roy-oliver-prison-sentence-police-shooting-texas
Piercy, D. (2018, August 17). Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2M75moIXFY
The Dallas Morning News. (2018, August 20). Video shows Jordan Edwards brothers pleading for help from police. Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heWHKNToxUM
The Dallas Morning News. (2018, August 23). Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxpRgUQfpkM
Tsiaperas, T. (2018, August 16). Videos show cop who killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards joking one moment and firing rifle the next. Retrieved from https://www.dallasnews.com/news/courts/2018/08/16/cop-trigger-happy-killed-15-year-old-jordan-edwards-prosecutor-says