On Aug. 28, a Dallas County jury convicted the white, former Texas police officer who fatally shot unarmed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards as he left a party with his brothers and two friends.
While Oliver, 38, was found guilty of murder, he was found not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault for firing his rifle into the car full of teens, reported The Dallas Morning News.
The former officer, who was fired from the Balch Springs police force soon after the April 2017 shooting, faces up to life in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
After the verdict was read, audible gasps, tears, and cheers were heard in the courtroom. Jordan's father, Odell Edwards, embraced supporters in the hallway.
"I just want to say I'm happy, very happy," Odell told reporters after the verdict. "It's been a long time, hard year. Just really happy."
His attorney, Daryl Washington, said the verdict meant more than justice for Jordan.
"It's about Tamir Rice. It's about Walter Scott. It's about Alton Sterling," he said. "It's about every African-American, unarmed African-American, who has been killed and who has not gotten justice."
On April, 29, 2017, Oliver and his partner, Tyler Gross, were responding to a call about a rowdy house party around 11 p.m. The body camera footage, which was played for jurors, showed the officers joking with teenagers as they left the house. However, while they talked with the party’s host, gunshots rang out and the officers took off running.
The gunshots were discovered to have come from a nearby nursing home.
Oliver ran to get his rifle while Gross was trying to stop the Chevrolet Impala that Jordan was riding in with his brothers and friends. Oliver fired his weapons into the car full of teens and Jordan was killed. After the shooting, Oliver claimed he thought the car was going to hit his partner.
Oliver testified he "had no other option" but to shoot into a car.
However, Jordan’s brother, Vidal Allen, was driving the Impala the night of the shooting and he testified that, although he heard someone tell him to stop, he didn’t know it was a cop.
“I didn’t understand that was a police officer at that time,” Allen said. “I just wanted to get home and get everyone safe.”
Officer Gross also came out against Oliver and said he didn’t think the car was trying to hit him.
"I was in fear that the vehicle was close to me, but not in fear that the vehicle was trying to run me over,” Gross testified.
It cannot go unnoticed that Oliver’s conviction fell on the 63-year anniversary of Emmett Till’s death. Many could not help but point out how Till, who was only 14, when a group of white men beat and murdered him, was not awarded the same justice. One of Till’s killers, who was also named Roy, was never convicted during his life.
It is rare for an officer to be found guilty for killing unarmed Black people and this conviction was not taken lightly in the community. Many hope Oliver’s sentencing reflects his crimes and will not let him off easy.
(Photo: Rose Baca - Pool/Getty Images)
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