Jordan Edwards: Texas police officer charged with murder of black 15-year-old leaving house party

Roy Oliver fired at car full of teenagers leaving a party in Dallas

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The Independent US

A US police officer has been charged with murder after a black teenager was shot dead in a car in Texas. 

Roy Oliver fired his rifle at a car full of teenagers leaving a party in Dallas, fatally wounding 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. 

Police had been called to the address to investigate a complaint of underage drinking and spotted the car leaving.

Police claimed the teenagers' car was backing up toward officers "in an aggressive manner", but later said body camera video showed the vehicle actually driving away from the officers. 

Oliver fired at the car, piercing the front side passenger window and hitting Jordan who was sitting in the front seat, his family’s attorneys claim. He was shot in the back of the head as his 16-year-old brother was driving away from the house.

Jordan had been in the car with his two brothers and two other teenagers when the incident occurred. It took a few moments for the other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat. 

The sheriff's office said an arrest warrant had been issued on Friday based on evidence that suggested Oliver "intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death." 

The former Balch Springs officer was later released after posting bail at the Parker County Jail in Weatherford, 95 miles west of Dallas. His bond had been set at $300,000 (£230,000). 

The investigation into the shooting "will continue and does not conclude with the arrest," sheriff's spokesperson Melinda Urbina said.

Texas police officer Roy Oliver faces a murder charge in the shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards (AP)

Records show that Oliver was briefly suspended in 2013 following a complaint about his conduct while serving as a witness in a drink-driving case. 

Personnel records from the Balch Springs Police Department show Oliver was suspended for 16 hours in December 2013 after the Dallas County District Attorney's Office filed the complaint. Oliver also was ordered to take training courses in anger management and courtroom demeanour and testimony. 

The records also included periodic evaluations that noted at least one instance when Oliver was reprimanded for being "disrespectful to a civilian on a call." That evaluation called the reprimand an isolated incident and urged Oliver to be mindful of his leadership role in the department. 

The complaint from the prosecutor's office said the office had a hard time getting Oliver to attend the trial, he was angry he had to be there, he used vulgar language that caused an assistant district attorney to send a female intern out of the room, and he used profanity during his testimony. 

"In an email from one of the prosecutors he states you were a 'scary person to have in our workroom,"' then-Balch Springs Police Chief Ed Morris wrote in the suspension findings. 

Oliver joined the Balch Springs department in 2011 after being an officer with the Dalworthington Gardens Police Department for almost a year. A statement from Dalworthington Gardens officials on Wednesday included details of that and previous intermittent employment as a dispatcher and public works employee between 1999 and 2004. 

He received an award for "meritorious conduct" as a dispatcher and there were no documented complaints or disciplinary action in either his work as a public safety officer or dispatcher, according to the statement. Between his employment as a dispatcher and officer in the Dallas suburb, Oliver was in the US Army, rising to the rank of sergeant while serving two tours in Iraq and earning various commendations.

After the Dallas County Attorney's Office complained about Oliver's behavior, Morris suspended the officer for 16 hours, which Oliver completed by forfeiting two sick days. 

Additional reporting by AP