Wednesday 26 July 2017

Police officer charged with murder of black boy (15) as he left party

Roy Oliver. Picture Parker County Sheriff's Office
Roy Oliver. Picture Parker County Sheriff's Office
Attenuate Coleman, 14, left, cries as her mother Demetria Brown, right, embraces her during a candle light vigil for Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas, Thursday, May 4, 2017. Coleman and Brown said they were life long friends with Edwards. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

A white Texas police officer turned himself in on Friday to face a charge of murder in the shooting death of a black 15-year-old boy who was in a car moving away from the officer when the policeman opened fire, authorities said.

Former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver (37) turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Dallas County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Melinda Urbina said in an email.

Oliver was fired by the force of the suburban Dallas police department earlier this week for policy violations.

The shooting, which took place in a primarily black and Hispanic neighborhood in Balch Springs, which is about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of Dallas, stoked simmering tensions over perceived racial bias in US policing.

Hope Waters, left, her brother Jeremiah, center rear, and their mother Yulise, center right, light candles with Linda Abrasion Evans, right, during a candle light vigil for Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas, Thursday, May 4, 2017. The prosecutor's office investigating the death of a black teenager who was shot by a Dallas-area police officer had once filed a complaint over that officer's aggressive behavior, according to records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Hope Waters, left, her brother Jeremiah, center rear, and their mother Yulise, center right, light candles with Linda Abrasion Evans, right, during a candle light vigil for Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas, Thursday, May 4, 2017. The prosecutor's office investigating the death of a black teenager who was shot by a Dallas-area police officer had once filed a complaint over that officer's aggressive behavior, according to records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A lawyer representing Oliver did not return calls seeking comment.

Balch Springs police have said that officers were responding to a disturbance on Saturday night and heard multiple gunshots. They came across the vehicle with the teens and ordered it to stop, but it pulled away.

Jordan Edwards, a black high school student described by family and friends as a stand-out student and athlete, was struck by a bullet to the head and died.

Two of his brothers were in the car with him and watched him die, family lawyer S. Lee Merritt has said.

Merritt, in a statement on behalf of Edwards' family, said on Friday they were preparing for a private wake and funeral. The statement asked supporters to avoid holding any protests or vigils until the teenager is laid to rest.

The arrest warrant said an officer with Oliver at the scene tried to stop the car at an intersection, breaking a passenger window, according to the Dallas Morning News, which obtained the document.

With the car driving past, Oliver stood behind the second officer and fired into the sedan, the Morning News reported, citing the warrant.

The Balch Springs Police Department on Tuesday announced it had dismissed Oliver for violating department policies, but it declined to give details on which policies were violated.

Police body-camera footage from the scene was reviewed before the department made its decision to fire Oliver.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber told a news conference on Tuesday that the video contradicted an earlier version he had released of the events in which he said the car was in reverse and heading toward the officer.

Reuters

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