Police officer free on bond in teen’s Dallas death

By CLAUDIA LAUER and WILL WEISSERT

Associated Press

DALLAS — A white Texas police officer faces a murder charge in the shooting of a black teenager after being fired earlier in the week, authorities said.

Roy Oliver turned himself in Friday night, just hours after the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest in the April 29 death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

Oliver, a former officer in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, was later released after posting bail at the Parker County Jail in Weatherford, about 95 miles west of Dallas. His bond had been set at $300,000.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement the warrant was issued 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.”

Oliver fired a rifle at a car full of teenagers leaving a party, fatally shooting Edwards who was a passenger in the vehicle. The teen’s death led to protests calling for Oliver to be fired and charged.

On Tuesday, the same day that the officer was fired, news broke of the Justice Department’s decision not to charge two white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the shooting death of a black man in 2016. And a white officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, pleaded guilty that day to federal civil rights charges in the fatal shooting of a black man in 2015.

Edwards and his two brothers and two other teenagers were leaving an unruly house party in Balch Springs when Oliver opened fire on their car with a rifle.

The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window and struck Edwards. It took a few moments for Edwards’ 16-year-old brother, who was driving, and other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat.

Police had said 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.

The investigation into the shooting “will continue and does not conclude with the arrest,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Melinda Urbina said.

Attorneys for Oliver and the family of Edwards didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Oliver’s firing Tuesday was for violating department policies in the shooting.