For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

ACLU of Texas Comment on Fatal Shooting of 15-Year-Old by Balch Springs Police Officer

DALLAS - Last Saturday night, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was killed when Balch Springs Police Department officer Roy Oliver fired his rifle at a moving vehicle in which Edwards was a passenger. Police reports initially stated that the vehicle in question was reversing “in an aggressive manner,” but Balch Springs Police Department chief Jonathan Haber has since confirmed that it was in fact moving away from Oliver when it was fired upon.

“This week we’re reminded that Officer Michael Slager fired five rounds into Walter Scott’s back while he was running away. Officers Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni fired five rounds into Alton Sterling’s chest and back while he was subdued on the ground. And now Officer Roy Oliver has fired a single rifle shot into the head of an innocent 15-year-old boy while he was riding in a car that posed no threat to anyone,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “How many Black men have to die before law enforcement changes its culture and regains the trust of the communities it’s sworn to serve?”

“We stand in solidarity with all those who continue to call for a transformation in American policing in the face of yet another avoidable killing. The system must be founded in de-escalation, in minimum force, and in transparency; those values cannot just be tacked on,” said Kali Cohn, staff attorney of the ACLU of Texas. “The public is clamoring for answers. What are the Department’s use of force and pursuit policies? How are officers trained on and held accountable to those policies? Do officers live in and know the communities they serve? There will be no answers that can justify Jordan Edwards’ death, but we must find a solution to prevent this trauma from repeating again and again.”

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