And by the looks of it, it won’t be long before Roy Oliver is criminally charged.
After all, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber – who initially stood by Oliver’s account that he shot and killed Jordan Edwards to protect fellow officers – was quick to backtrack his statements after watching the body cam footage showing the car driving away from officers when Oliver fired his rifle, striking the boy in the head.
The footage has not been released, but things are moving swiftly in Texas, much swifter than we normally see after police shootings where it usually takes months to “investigate” something that should be determined in minutes.
It happened again, this time on a residential street in this working-class Dallas suburb. A police officer shot and killed a black teenager on Saturday night under questionable circumstances, thrusting him, his department and his city onto the national stage.
On Tuesday, the chief of the Balch Springs Police Department announced that he had fired the officer who used a rifle to shoot into a moving vehicle full of teenagers and killed Jordan Edwards, 15, as he was seated in the front passenger seat.
The officer, Roy Oliver, joined the department in July 2011. The police chief, Jonathan Haber, declined to say what policies were violated, citing Mr. Oliver’s right to appeal the termination. Chief Haber said he made the decision based in part on the department’s internal affairs investigation, which has been completed, and the body-camera footage from the two officers at the scene, Mr. Oliver and another unnamed officer.
“You have my assurances that my department will continue to be responsive, transparent and accountable,” Chief Haber said at a news conference early Tuesday evening.
Though the internal affairs inquiry has been completed, a criminal investigation into the shooting is proceeding by two Dallas County agencies, the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office, and charges are possible. Chief Haber declined to describe Mr. Oliver’s past disciplinary record as an officer.
Edwards was at a house party with his older brother and three other friends when police showed up, responding to a call of drunk teenagers roaming the streets.
While police were in the house, the sounds of gunshots rang out, prompting the teens to scatter, including Edwards and his friends.
Edwards was in the passengers seat in a car driven by his brother when Oliver shot him with a rifle, striking him in the head.
Edwards’ brother did not even realize his brother had been shot until after driving a block and noticing smoke coming out of his brother’s head.
That was when he stopped the car and flagged officers down for help, apparently thinking somebody else had shot his little brother.
Police responded by handcuffing the brother and detaining him overnight, even though they released him with no charges the following morning.
Balch Springs police also detained the boys father after he showed up to the station inquiring about his sons because they claimed he displayed “hostile behavior,” according to the family’s attorney.
So it appears the cops tried to conduct their usual coverup but the chief did not go along with it.