The suburban Dallas police officer who shot and killed teenager Jordan Edwards — who was riding in a car that was leaving a house party — was indicted for murder by a grand jury on Monday.
Roy Oliver, who has since been terminated from the Balch Springs (Texas) Police Department, was also indicted for four counts of aggravated assault for shooting into the car where Jordan and other teens were seated.
No date has yet been set for the trial. Jordan’s family has also filed a lawsuit against Oliver for wrongful death.
Jordan’s family and their attorney were described as being “cautiously optimistic” after Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced the indictment against 37-year-old Oliver in court.
On April 29, Oliver fired into a car containing Edwards and his friends, including his brother, when the car was leaving a party. At first, Police Chief Jonathan Haber claimed that the vehicle was reversing toward Oliver in a menacing manner. That account was later changed to say that the car was moving forward — and away from the officer — instead.
Oliver and Officer Tyler Gross were responding to a report of alcohol and drugs at the party that Edwards was leaving. However, no alcohol or drugs were found, and both of the officers and the party-goers heard shots, which were later discovered to be fired at a nearby nursing home.
At that time, Jordan, his brother, and two friends tried to leave the party. According to the report, Gross yelled for them to stop and broke a window of the car with his gun, but the car drove off. At that point, Oliver discharged his firearm, killing Jordan.
Johnson said the prosecution of Oliver should not be seen as a political statement.
“I think our police officers would stand with us and say, ‘We do not condone bad behavior,'” she said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Hopefully, it is a message we are sending to the bad police officers. If you do wrong, we will prosecute you.”
Oliver was also indicted on two aggravated assault charges after two unrelated road rage incidents just weeks before Jordan’s death where he pulled a gun on two people.
It has gotten so bad the district attorney called Oliver a “danger to the community.”
Those road rage incidents, interestingly enough, were investigated more thoroughly after Jordan’s death. Not surprisingly, in the first report, Dallas police said no crime occurred.
The attorneys for Jordan’s family have blasted the police department’s handling of the road-rage incidents.
“Had Dallas taken some action on that particular night when they knew that this officer placed a gun to someone’s head, Jordan would be with us here today,” said attorney Daryl Washington, who also represents the family.