Texas grand jury indicts former police officer in shooting death of Jordan Edwards


A combination photo shows Roy Oliver in Parker County Sheriff’s Office booking photos in Weatherford, Texas on May 5, 2017. Oliver was indicted Monday in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Courtesy Parker County Sheriff’s Office via Reuters

A Texas grand jury indicted a former police officer Monday in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver on a murder charge and four additional counts of aggravated assault for the April 2017 shooting, prosecutors said.

Body camera footage released after the shooting prompted local law enforcement to change its story about the series of events that led to Edwards’ death.

Oliver, who is white, responded to a report of an unruly house party April 29 in a Dallas suburb. The former police officer first said he opened fire on a car of teenagers with a rifle after he heard gunfire and the vehicle started to reverse toward him “in an aggressive manner.”

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Edwards, sitting in the front passenger’s seat, was hit in the back of the head by the gunfire. The black teen, who was unarmed, was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Two of Edwards’ brothers, along with two friends, were in the car at the time of the shooting. The jury found Oliver guilty on four counts of aggravated assault, one for each of the other teens in the car.

Shortly after the initial police report, however, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said he misspoke about the shooting’s details. Haber said officials reviewed the body cam footage and found that the car was moving away — not toward — the officers responding to the scene.

“I was unintentionally incorrect yesterday when I said that the victim’s vehicle was backing down the road,” Haber told reporters a couple of days after the shooting occurred.

The charges against Oliver come on the heels of the indictment of three Chicago officers for interfering in the investigation of the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. In late June, three police brutality trials concluded without a conviction for the officers involved.

The charges against Oliver follow the indictment of three Chicago officers for interfering in the investigation of a 2014 shooting death. In late June, three other police brutality trials concluded without officer convictions.

Oliver, who was a member of the police department for six years, was fired in May. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department officially charged Oliver with murder shortly after the shooting.

Through a FOIA request, NBC News learned that Oliver had previously been suspended for anger problems and was ordered to take anger management training.

In June, Oliver was also indicted on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant in an unrelated road rage incident. Michael Snipes, the Dallas County district attorney, said there’s a “pattern now” with Oliver’s behavior, adding that the city thinks “he’s very, very likely a danger to the community.”

A date for Oliver’s sentencing has not been set.

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