At a party in suburban Dallas Saturday, Balch Springs Police Department officer Roy Oliver shot and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. According to an initial statement by Chief Jonathan Haber, the officer said he shot into the car Edwards was in after the car “aggressively” drove toward Oliver and another officer, who acted in self-defense. However, Haber amended his statement Monday after reviewing body camera footage that showed the car driving away from the two officers. Edwards’ death was ruled a homicide by the Dallas medical examiner’s office and now officer Oliver has been fired.
Chief Haber told reporters that the decision to fire Oliver was made after an internal investigation, citing a violation of “several departmental policies.” Oliver has the right to appeal his termination. Oliver, an officer since 2011, had been placed on leave following the shooting and has not yet been charged with a crime.
The quick action by the department is drastically different than those taken by departments involved in similar recent shootings. In Cleveland, the officers who shot and killed Tamir Rice were cleared by a grand jury but still face “administrative charges.” In Baltimore, all the charges against the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray were dropped, as well.
In a followup statement to reporters, Chief Haber expressed his condolences to the Edwards family and was lauded by the attorney representing the Edwards family, Lee Merritt. “I give him much respect for being brave enough to do that on a national platform. It may be embarrassing, but we need to change the culture where officers don’t cover up for the indefensible,” he said.