The fired Balch Springs cop who fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was indicted Monday on a murder charge by a Dallas County grand jury.
Jordan’s family and their attorney said they were “cautiously optimistic” after Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced the indictment against 37-year-old Roy Oliver.
Oliver was also indicted on four counts of aggravated assault by a public servant for firing his rifle into a car full of teenagers leaving a party April 29. Jordan, who sat in the front passenger seat, was struck in the head. His two brothers and two friends were also in the car.
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber originally said the Chevrolet Impala was aggressively reversing toward Oliver and Officer Tyler Gross, but body camera footage contradicted that story. Oliver was fired and arrested on the murder charge in May.
Johnson said prosecuting Oliver is not a “political statement” but rather the right thing to do, something she believes most police officers would agree with.
“I think our police officers would stand with us and say, ‘We do not condone bad behavior,'” she said. “Hopefully, it is a message we are sending to the bad police officers. If you do wrong, we will prosecute you.”
Oliver’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney, said he was pleased to see Johnson go forward with plans to prosecute Oliver, something that other district attorneys might not do in similar police shootings.
“Far too often we see cases where there’s been a lack of comparable effort in cases that are equally deserving,” Merritt said after the announcement. “We are satisfied with this step.”
Oliver was also indicted last month on two aggravated assault charges following accusations he pulled a gun on two people in an unrelated road-rage incident weeks before Jordan’s death. The district attorney called Oliver a “danger to the community.”
That case was investigated more thoroughly after Jordan’s death. Originally Dallas police said no crime occurred.
The attorneys for Jordan’s family have been critical of how Dallas police handled the road-rage incident.
“Had Dallas taken some action on that particular night when they knew that this officer placed a gun to someone’s head, Jordan would be with us here today,” said attorney Daryl Washington, who also represents the family.
Oliver faces up to life in prison for each of the seven felony charges against him. Although no date has been set for Oliver’s trial, Johnson said prosecutors will first pursue the murder charge against Oliver.
Johnson declined to elaborate on the details of the case, but said she is dedicated to “seeking justice for Jordan.”
“We believe we have a very strong case,” Johnson said. “We’re planning to win this case.”
Many who have been strongly advocating that prosecutors move forward with the case have questioned whether the district attorney’s office could win a conviction after so many officers nationwide have been acquitted in shootings of unarmed black men.
But another attorney for Jordan’s family, Jasmine Crockett, said she is no longer one of them.
“There’s no question now in my mind whether he’s going to be locked up,” she said.
In the meantime, Oliver is free on a $700,000 bond related to the murder charge and aggravated assault charges stemming from the road-rage incident. A judge did not increase that bond for the four new aggravated assault charges.