In another episode of senseless police violence against unarmed people of color, a police officer used a rifle to fatally shoot a black teenager last Saturday evening in Balch Springs, Texas—but this time, the officer will face consquences. The New York Times reports that Roy Oliver was fired on Tuesday for killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was leaving a party at the time.
Balch Springs police were responding to calls reporting underage drinking at the party, escalating to a questionable series of events and Edwards’ death.
At first, Balch Springs police claimed that they heard gunshots in the vicinity of the party; then, that a vehicle including Edwards was reversing towards them in an “aggressive manner,” prompting one officer to shoot at the moving car. In front of three other teenagers, including his two brothers, Edwards was shot in the head through the car door. He was pronounced dead upon arrival to a local hospital.
The Washington Post reported that Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber retracted an original statement about the vehicle’s direction after reviewing body cam footage of the shooting. He added that Oliver’s use of a weapon did not meet the police department’s “core values.”
According to a database managed by the Post, more than 330 people have been shot and killed by police in 2017 alone. Edwards was the youngest so far.
Despite understandable outrage at yet another police shooting, USA Today reports that Edwards’ family has asked sympathizers to refrain from protesting or marching until after his funeral. The Edwards family has called for Oliver to be arrested on murder charges, according to the Times.
While all unwarranted deaths by police shootings are tragedies, Edwards’ loss has severely impacted his community. Mourners from his high school have described Edwards as “very well-liked by his teachers, coaches, and fellow students," according to USA Today.