Three days after fatally shooting an unarmed 15-year-old boy sitting in a car, a Texas police officer was terminated for violating department policies. Although the former cop initially claimed that the vehicle was reversing toward officers in an aggressive manner, police body cam footage revealed the car had been moving forward, away from the officers, when the cop opened fire on several innocent teens.
On Saturday night, Balch Springs police officers responded to a call concerning underage drinking at a local house party. After arriving at the scene, officers entered the house to investigate the complaint when they heard gunshots and immediately exited the residence.
According to Officer Roy Oliver, one of the vehicles reversed toward the officers “in an aggressive manner” when he fired his rifle at the car. But police body cam footage later contradicted Oliver’s false version of events.
Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old high school freshman, had attended the party with his two brothers and two other teenagers when they suddenly heard gunshots and fled towards the car. In an attempt to distance themselves from the gunshots, the five teens jumped in the vehicle and drove forward, away from the officers and the party according to body cam video.
With his 16-year-old brother driving, Edwards sat in the front passenger seat beside him when a bullet from Oliver’s rifle shattered his side window and struck the 15-year-old in the head. Discovering Edwards’ motionless body slumped forward, his brother pulled over and asked the officers to help.
Instead of providing medical attention, the officers handcuffed Edwards’ brother and placed him in custody. While detaining Edwards’ older brother at the station overnight, the police also detained his father when he arrived asking about his children.
“After Jordan’s two brothers, Vidal and Kevon, along with their two friends, were forced to experience this tragedy up close as occupants of the car, they were immediately treated as common criminals by other officers; manhandled, intimidated and arrested, while their brother lay dying in the front seat,” the family wrote in a recent statement. “The officers who extended this nightmare for those children ought to be properly reprimanded.”
“I unintentionally, incorrectly said yesterday that the vehicle was backing down the road,” Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber stated during a press conference on Monday. “In fact, according to the video that I viewed, the vehicle was moving forward as the officers approached.”
Despite the fact that Oliver claimed he had feared for the safety of his fellow officers when the vehicle began aggressively reversing toward them, Chief Haber fired Oliver on Tuesday after reviewing footage of the incident. The District Attorney’s office has launched an investigation into the fatal shooting and will determine whether Oliver could face criminal charges.
According to the Department of Defense, Oliver served in the Army on active duty between 2004 and 2010. Shortly after leaving the Army, Oliver became a peace officer in Dalworthington Gardens near Fort Worth. In 2011, he joined the Balch Springs Police Department.
Although Haber fired Oliver, the department refuses to release the police body cam footage from that evening.