Judge rules police officer who killed teen Jordan Edwards can’t have trial moved
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Roy Oliver, the fired Balch Springs police officer who shot and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, won’t have his trial moved out of Dallas County, a judge ruled Tuesday.
On April 29, 2017 Oliver fired into a car containing Edwards and his friends, including his brother, when the car attempting to leave a party. Originally, Police Chief Jonathan Haber claimed that the vehicle was reversing toward Oliver in a menacing manner, but that account was later proven to be untrue.
Oliver who is white, was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of the Black teen. He was also indicted for four counts of aggravated assault for each of the teens in the car with Jordan.
Oliver and Officer Tyler Gross were responding to a report of alcohol and drugs at the party that Edwards was leaving. When both the officers and the partygoers heard guns shots, which were later discovered to be fired at a nearby nursing home, the officers reportedly ran outside.
At that time, Jordan, his brother, and two friends tried to leave the party. Gross yelled for them to stop and broke a window of the car with his gun, but the car drove off, at which point Oliver fired, killing Jordan.
The shooting of a 15-year-old honor student brought national outrage, and Edwards’ family has stated that they are still trying to deal with the aftermath of what they have been through, especially his brothers, who were witnesses to the tragedy.
Oliver’s legal team argued that he would not get a fair trial because of “pervasive, prejudicial and inflammatory” news covering following Edwards murder.
“News stories that are accurate and objective do not run afoul to anybody’s constitutional rights,” State District Judge Brandon Birmingham said, the Dallas News reports.
A history of violence?
Odell Edwards, in a wrongful death suit, is claiming that the Balch Springs Police Department did not properly supervise or discipline Oliver, who was known for a “short fuse” and names both Oliver and the department in the suit.
The suit cited an incident on April 16, two weeks before Jordan Edwards was killed, in which Oliver pulled a gun on a woman who rear-ended him. The woman, Monique Arredondo, did not know Oliver was a cop and called police when he refused to put the gun away after she asked him to.
“Defendant Oliver refused, began to yell, became very upset, and never identified himself as an officer,” documents state.
Oliver was also reprimanded for being “disrespectful to a civilian on a call” but not disciplined, and in December 2013, he was suspended for only 16 hours for his behavior. All these incidents added up, the suits claims, show that Oliver’s behavior was not being addressed or stopped.
“There was no reason that any person in America — not just a black person — should ever have to bury their 15-year-old child who was doing everything right in life,” said Jasmine Crockett, a lawyer for Jordan’s family.
Oliver’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 16.