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White Balch Springs Officer Who Killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards Faces Murder Charges

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Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber speaks during a press conference after officer Roy Oliver shot and killed of Jordan Edwards [Black Westchester]
Batch Springs, Texas — The Dallas County DA’s Office has issued a murder arrest warrant, Friday afternoon for fired Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver,who killed Jordan Edwards, just two days after the Justice Department announced it will not bring charges in the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling, an African-American man who was shot and killed July 5, 2016, during a confrontation outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, the warrant was issued due to evidence that suggested Oliver intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death of an individual.

The warrant gives any peace officer the authority to arrest Roy Oliver for the crime of murder. Oliver has not been arrested and could turn himself into authorities. Bond is set for $300,000.  Murder is punishable by up to life in prison.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner confirms a rifle shot to the head as the preliminary cause of death.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department is the lead agency for the criminal investigation. The investigation into Edwards’ death will continue and does not conclude with the arrest of Roy Oliver, the department said.

Jordan was a straight-A student and a standout athlete who was beloved by his Mesquite High schoolmates. He played on the freshman football team and was supposed to begin playing defensive back this spring.

“The best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world would happen, and he’d smile, and everything would be OK,” head football coach Jeff Fleener said.

“You create a checklist of everything you would want in a player, a son, a teammate, a friend, and Jordan had all that. He was that kid.

While this is far from over the family was pleased with the murder charge according to the family’s lawyer.

“A great relief.  We are grateful. It is the appropriate charge. An answer to our prayers,” said Edwards family attorney Lee Merritt on Friday afternoon. A judge signed a murder warrant Friday afternoon for fired Officer Oliver.

Police first said the vehicle was backing up toward police at the scene “in an aggressive manner.” After having originally, incorrectly described why an officer shot at a moving vehicle and killed a 15-year-old boy, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan said Monday that video contradicted his original statement that showing the vehicle not reversing, but instead “moving forward as the officers approached.”

Haber said he terminated the six-year veteran of the department for violating policies, though he has refused to provide specifics. When an officer is terminated he loses his pension unlike when he is allowed to resign or retire (which happens all too often in cases such as these), allowing the officer to protect and secure their pension even if convicted and against any possible future civil suits.

Oliver, who lives in Combine, a small community located approximately 20 miles southeast of Dallas, Texas off of highway 175, was the second of two officers who responded to a report of underage drinking the night Jordan was killed. After gunfire was heard in the area, the 15-year-old and four other teenagers got into their car to leave.

The Balch Springs Police Department was not immediately available for comment. A lawyer representing Oliver did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The white officer’s shooting of an unarmed black teenager has renewed allegations nationwide that racial bias among police has led to deadly overreactions. Jordan’s family has asked people not to protest until after his funeral on Saturday.

Balch Springs is a city in Dallas County, Texas, a suburb of Dallas and part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

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