Police Chief Fires Officer Who Shot Balch Springs Teen

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 3, 2017 5:24 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Balch Springs police chief has fired the officer who shot and killed 15 year-old Jordan Edwards last Saturday.

KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports Dallas County’s investigation continues.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said he terminated Officer Roy Oliver’s employment Tuesday for violating several department policies. He wasn’t more specific because he said Oliver could appeal.

At a weekend party that Oliver and his partner were called to, Oliver grabbed his rifle and shot through the window of a car that was driving away. The rifle fire killed Edwards who was a passenger. 

Haber said county investigations continue.

“It is very important,” the chief said “that the sheriff’s office and public integrity unit [are] able to conduct their thorough investigation of this officer-involved shooting. My department will continue to be responsive, be transparent and accountable .”

A statement from the Edwards family expressed gratitude the for the officer’s termination – but the family says it awaits his arrest for murder. The statement also said Jordan’s two brothers were in the car with him as they experienced the trauma of watching their best friend die. The family says police treated them as criminals and arrested them.

Reverend Ronald Wright, with a group called Justice Seekers Texas, was also at Tuesday’s press conference with the police chief. He supported the chief and department, saying they’re setting the right example. 

“When we get these type of incidents that happened all over the United States,” Wright said, “Balch Springs has reacted immediately to it and took action the way it should have.”

The Edwards family has asked that there be no protests or marches in their name, as they prepare for a Saturday funeral.

The Sandra Bland Act is headed to the full State Senate for a vote.

The bill is named for the black woman who died in police custody in Waller County in 2015.

The bill that made it out of committee addresses mental health care in jail – but no longer aims to prevent officers from arresting people over minor, finable offenses. 

Houston Democrat John Whitmire says the compromise was critical.  

 “If we made it as comprehensive as it was when we introduced it, we probably wouldn’t be having this hearing today,” Whitmire said.

The House version is still pending in committee.

Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott held his first public bill-signing this legislative session – and it was a show of support for the Israeli government.

The bill – now law – prevents state contracts with companies that boycott Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Abbott said quote – “Any anti-Israel policy is an anti-Texas policy.”