Balch Springs officer terminated after death of Jordan Edwards

Balch Springs officer terminated after shooting and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards

BALCH SPRINGS -- The officer who shot and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards has been fired.

In a news conference, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said the officer, Roy Oliver, violated department policies, but won't elaborate which ones.

Oliver has been with the department since 2011. He has 10 days to appeal.

Jordan Edwards was killed in front of his brother as they were leaving a party on Baron Drive Saturday night. Neighbors said a large house party was underway at the time, and officers responded to a report of intoxicated teenagers.

Oliver is one of two officers who responded the scene.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said the video contradicts the initial police account of what happened.

Originally, Haber said when officers arrived on the street, they heard gunfire and a car filled with passengers backed towards them in reverse.

"I unintentionally, incorrect, yesterday when I said the vehicle was backing down the road. In fact, according to the video that I viewed, the vehicle was moving forward as the officer was approached," Haber said.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled Edwards' death a homicide, due to a rifle wound to the head.

"I do have questions in relation to my observation on the video and what is consistent with the policies and core values of the Balch Springs Police Department," Haber said.

The department immediately turned over its investigation into the incident to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

The shooting has gained national attention. A rally planned to protest Jordan Edwards' death has been postponed at the family's request. On Monday, family and friends gathered outside Mesquite High School Monday evening to honor Edwards.

Many of his coaches and community members showed up at a news conference Sunday afternoon demanding answers from authorities and expressing frustration over a lack of information.

"Great kid. Awesome parents. He was not a thug. This shouldn't happen to him," said Chris Cano, whose son played football with Edwards.

WFAA has requested for police to release the body camera video of the shooting. WFAA was told that Balch Springs was told by the Dallas County District attorney not to release it.

Several community members came to hear the chief’s announcement Tuesday evening.

“We support the Balch Springs Police Department, but we do not support this officer,” said Angela Singletary, who’s a member of the city’s Citizens Patrol.
 
Willie Richard, who’s lived in Balch Springs for 38 years, applauded the decision and appreciated the chief’s candor.

“He owned it,” Richard said. “That’s what I’m telling you, he owned the situation, and I think that’s going to take a lot of tension off the whole community.”

Edward’s family agrees. Tuesday night, family friend Mercedes Jackson attended an NAACP meeting in Dallas. She told WFAA the teen’s loved ones are grateful for Officer Oliver’s firing, but it is only the beginning.

“They’re moving in the right direction, however it’s not nearly enough,” she said. “Not nearly enough.”

Jackson says, for Edward’s sake, they won’t stop until there’s an arrest and a conviction for that decision made back on Barron Drive.

They also feel the officer painted Edwards' name, and those of his brothers, in a negative light when announcing the initial incorrect information about what happened the night Edwards died.

They want to hear a public apology for that from Balch Springs PD.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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