A Texas police officer who fired a gun into a car full of teenagers, fatally wounding an unarmed black 15-year-old, was indicted on a murder charge by a Dallas County grand jury Monday.
Balch Springs Officer Roy Oliver shot Jordan Edwards in the head as Edwards, his brothers, and two friends drove away from a party on April 29.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the Edwards family, greeted the news of Monday’s indictment with cautious optimism.
“A murder indictment for Roy Oliver is appropriate,” Merritt wrote on Twitter, “but the fact is it’s been +40 years since a cop was convicted in TX.”
Oliver initially claimed the car, driven by one of Edwards’ brothers, had reversed into the officers, justifying his decision to open fire on the Chevy Impala.
The Balch Springs Police Department later changed that account, however, after video of the incident showed the teenagers were actually driving away from Oliver when he fired multiple rounds into the packed car.
Compounding matters, Merritt said, the officers on the scene failed to respond properly after the shooting, roughing up the teenagers instead of providing medical attention.
“They were immediately treated as common criminals by other officers; manhandled, intimidated and arrested while their brother lay dying in the front seat,” he said.