Roy Oliver, a former Texas police officer, was convicted on Tuesday of murder for killing Jordan Edwards, an unarmed black 15-year-old who was leaving a party in April 2017.
Jordan got into a car with his brothers and two friends upon exiting the house party, at which point Oliver approached the vehicle and fired his gun into it. Oliver testified that he had “no choice,” fearing the car was going to hit his partner.
But the Balch Springs Police Department confirmed after watching body cam video of the incident that the car was in fact moving away from the officer. Oliver had also been responding to reports that teens were drinking at the party, yet an autopsy report revealed that Edwards wasn’t under the influence when Oliver shot him. No other teens were drinking or doing drugs at the party either, a law enforcement official said.
Oliver was also charged on four counts of aggravated assault, two of which were dismissed during the trial.
Oliver faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
“[Police officers] have to follow the law just like everybody else,” prosecutor George Lewis told The Dallas Morning News.
“The police just walk away and don’t have to give account for anything,” Charmaine Edwards, the boy’s stepmother, said. “I’m forever grateful that y’all seen it in your hearts to see that it was wrong.”
Odell Edwards, his father, spoke about how difficult the past year had been for their family and how happy he was about the decision.
Lee Merritt, a lawyer representing the Edwards family, noted at the time of the indictment last year that it had been more than 40 years since a police officer in Texas was convicted. The last conviction reportedly took place in 1973.
This story has been updated to include more details about Oliver’s conviction.