Teen's family sues Balch Springs, former officer for wrongful death
The family of a 15-year-old shot and killed by a police officer is suing that officer and the city of Balch Springs.
Jordan Edwards was laid to rest Saturday. He was shot in the head by Officer Roy Oliver on April 29 as he and his friends were in a car leaving a party.
Originally, the police department said the teens were “aggressively” backing towards Oliver. But body camera video told a different story. Oliver was fired and arrested on murder charges.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the video shows Oliver and Officer T. Gross reacting to the sound of gunfire as they broke up the house party. Oliver went to his squad car to get his patrol rifle and then walked over to Officer Gross, who had ordered Edwards and his friends to stop their car.
“The vehicle continued slowly in reverse. Officer Gross exhibited his firearm and continued to order the vehicle to stop,” the documented states. “As he approached the vehicle from the passenger side, the vehicle continued and stopped shortly. The vehicle then proceeded to move forward in motion on Shepherd Lane (southbound). At that time, Officer Gross approached the rear passenger door and ‘punched’ the window with his service weapon, causing the rear window to break.”
The warrant says Oliver “positioned himself behind and to the right of Officer Gross, discharged multiple rounds from his patrol rifle as the vehicle drove past him.”
The lawsuit claims the former officer used excessive deadly force.
“Defendant Oliver, without justification and the need to do so, used excessive force and deadly force as described above and killed Edward without legal justification,” the lawsuit states. “Edwards never made any threatening gestures toward Defendant Oliver and did not pose an immediate threat to the safety of Defendant Oliver or others.”
The suit places blame on the city of Balch Springs for failing to properly train, supervise and discipline Oliver. According to the suit, he “has a reputation for having a short fuse.”
The document points to several complaints from prosecutors and civilians who accused Oliver of being disrespectful or using vulgar and profane language. It mentions an incident in April when Oliver pulled a gun out and yelled at a woman who rear-ended him.
“Although off-duty, Defendant Oliver exited his vehicle with his gun drawn and demanded that [she] respond to his demands,” the lawsuit states.
It also says Edwards’ brothers and friends were unlawfully restrained after the shooting. His older brother, who was driving the car, was handcuffed and taken to the police department.
“He was not given any explanation and could not understand why he was being treated like a criminal, especially since Defendant Oliver had just shot and killed Edwards in cold blood,” the lawsuit states.
Maximus and Maxwell Everette were sitting in the backseat of the car with Edwards’ two brothers.
“We was just five innocent teenagers having a good time that night,” Maximus said. “Cops got called in. Everything else that happened, it's just tragic.”
“No one did nothing wrong in that car,” Maxwell said. “No one.”
The Everette twins say they are glad the investigation quickly led to the arrest of Oliver on the charge of murder.
“That’s good that that happened because that normally doesn’t happen,” Maxwell said.
“Glad it happened fast enough because most cases don’t ever get charged,” Maximus said. “What he did was wrong.”
Edwards’ family is seeking an unspecified amount of money for his wrongful death and the severe emotional distress it caused.