A disgraced white ex-cop has been found guilty of murder in the shooting death of a black unarmed teen.
Officer Roy Oliver was let go from the Balch Springs Police Department following the incident in April of 2017.
Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards, along with four other black teenagers, was in a car leaving a house party in the Dallas suburb when Oliver fired into the vehicle. Bodycam audio reveals a discharge of at least five rounds.
According to Oliver’s testimony, he shot up the car because he felt his partner, Tyler Gross, was in danger as the car moved toward him.
However, Gross said in court that he never felt threatened.
The officers had broken up the shindig in response to a report of underage drinking. While inside the house, they heard gunfire, which was later determined to have come from elsewhere in the community.
While Gross was signaling the car carrying Edwards — who was in the passenger seat — to stop, Oliver took his rifle from the squad car. He told jurors he had no option but to shoot, as the vehicle moved toward Gross after backing up and pausing.
Oliver’s attorneys pushed the court to consider things from the policeman’s point of view, while the defense portrayed the gunman as an unreasonable, out-of-control cop.
Edwards’s father expressed relief over the verdict:
“It’s been a hard year … I’m just really happy.”
Oliver is facing up to 99 years in prison. He was fired after his account of the situation conflicted with bodycam footage.
Policemen have a very difficult job. However, I believe officers are found not guilty in too many instances where unarmed civilians are shot or otherwise killed. The 2011 Kelly Thomas fatal beating is a perfect example. Another is the Daniel Shaver murder of 2016. Both of those videos are so disturbing that I’m uncomfortable embedding them here. If you are interested, please visit the links. I consider them well worth the view, in honor of the victims and for perspective on the abuse of power which sometimes occurs. Abuse which, in both cases, resulted in no convictions.
As per the Washington Post Fatal Force database, in 2017, police killed more than 980. 679 have died so far this year from officer shootings. Doubtlessly, many of them deserved what they got. Edwards, it seems, did not. I hope justice was — and continues to be — served in this case.
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