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US Department Of Justice Investigating Jordan Edwards Shooting

Photo via Attorney S. Lee Merritt

The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the police shooting of Jordan Edwards, the unarmed 15-year-old that was killed by a police officer in Balch Springs, Texas.

In a report from Reuters, Brittany Dunn, a spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed in an email Thursday that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into the shooting. The DOJ’s investigation will be separate from that of the District Attorney’s Office.

Roy Oliver, the former Balch Springs Police Officer who fatally shot Edwards, is now facing murder charges from the DOJ. Oliver had turned himself in following the shooting but has since been released.

The shooting occurred on April 29, when Edwards and his friends were leaving a party after hearing gunshots. According to a report, cops were already in the area responding to a call of drunken teens around 11 p.m. when they heard the gunshots. The report then describes the incident with Edwards and his friends as an “unknown altercation,” with the vehicle that Edwards was in “backing down the street towards the officers in an aggressive manner.” It was at this moment that Oliver fired at the car and ended up shooting Edwards.

Following Edwards’ death, the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office ruled the shooting as a homicide, with Edwards killed by a rifle wound to the head. Police then retracted their initial statement that the vehicle Edwards was in was reversing toward the cop an “aggressive manner,” with Balch Springs police chief Jonathan Haber saying, “I unintentionally (was) incorrect when I said the vehicle was backing down the road…in fact, I can tell you that I do have questions in relation to my observation (of) the video. After reviewing the video, I don’t believe that it met our core values.”

Edwards’ family has filed a lawsuit against Oliver and the Balch Springs Police Department, with the suit stating that the department should have known of Oliver’s aggressive behavior and that he “exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public.”

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