A Texas jury has found Roy Oliver guilty of murder in the 2017 shooting of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The verdict was handed down Tuesday. Edwards was shot when officer responded to a report of underage drinking at a house party. Oliver opened fire with a rifle, shooting five times into a car carrying Jordan and four other teenagers. Jordan, unarmed, was shot in the head through the passenger-side window.
Jurors watched police body camera footage showing how the situation escalated quickly from Oliver and his partner joking with the party’s host and teenagers until a gunshot was heard outside. Oliver and his partner rushed out of the house to investigate and saw the vehicle containing the teenagers leaving the scene. They did not know if the gunshot had come from someone inside the vehicle or if someone had fired at the vehicle, causing them to take off. Oliver fired into the vehicle Edwards was in as it drove off while his partner was trying to stop the car from leaving the scene.
It turned out that the gunshot had come from a nearby nursing home.
According to court records, Oliver predictably said he and his partner feared for their lives when the car carrying the teens sped past them.
During the trial, prosecutors showed that Oliver has a history of hostile and aggressive behavior. While in the eighth grade, he posted swastikas in public places, hated anyone who was not Caucasian and was a member of the group “Caucasians in Effect,” court filing say. His lack of regard for black lives seemed to ring through to everyone on the jury.
It took jurors 12 hours to come back with their verdict.
Police officers in America who kill black suspects seldom face justice. Tuesday’s verdict was rare, but welcomed by excessive force critics everywhere.