Roy Oliver, the Balch Springs police officer who shot and killed 15-year-old unarmed black teenager Jordan Edwards, has been fired, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“From our policies, which I went by, there were violations. I acted on them,” Balch Spring police chief Jonathan Haber said on Tuesday evening.
Edwards was killed Saturday night after being fatally shot in the head while leaving a party in a car with his brothers and two others.
Officers were in the area to break up the house party after receiving reports of underage drinking.
Balch Springs police spokesman Pedro Gonzalez said that officers were searching for the house’s owners when shots were allegedly heard, which they said created chaos right before Edwards was shot.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Edwards family, said that Oliver fired three shots into the car Edwards was in, based on eyewitness accounts from the other passengers in the car.
“As law enforcement approached the house, they saw the lights. They began to run, as many kids began to run,” Jasmine Crockett, another Edwards family attorney, told CNN on Tuesday. “As they’re running to the car, they actually heard approximately five shots. And then ultimately the gunfire is turned on them.”
When news of Edwards’ killing first broke, Haber said that the vehicle had been “aggressively” driving towards officers, which is what prompted Oliver to shoot at the teenagers. However, Haber walked back his claim and said he “misspoke” after reviewing video footage of the incident and said Edwards and his companions were in fact driving away when Oliver fired at them.
“I take responsibility for that,” Haber said, and added that Oliver’s behaviour “did not meet our core values.”
Although the Balch Springs police department said that its internal investigation into Oliver’s conduct had been concluded, Haber refused to say what Oliver’s policy violations were, noting that Oliver had a right to appeal his firing and ongoing investigations by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
Both departments have launched criminal investigations into Edwards’ killing.
“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,” a statement released by the Edwards family said. “The officers who extended this nightmare for those children ought to be properly reprimanded.”
Edwards’ killing has prompted calls for the release of body camera footage depicting the incident.
“We need answers. @BalchSpringsPD should immediately release footage of #JordanEdwards shooting. #BlackLivesMatter,” said a tweet posted by the ACLU of Texas. It also included a link to a Washington Post story about Edwards’ killing.
A representative for the ACLU declined to comment when reached by Business Insider.
“We have a dead 15-year-old with no causation on his part or anybody of the vehicle,” Merritt said on Monday. “If justice is to be had, by now a warrant should have been issued. There’s more than enough probable cause to arrest this officer.”
“We are declaring [a] war on bad policing. America, throughout the country, must figure out a way to police its citizens without killing them,” Merritt added.
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