The arrest pictures of Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver tell his side of the story. You see him almost in tears as his life has come crashing down around him. He seems remorseful, distraught that it has come to this. Turned on by his own department.
His mother called him, “a man of strong character.” She said, “He is a very devoted father of two young children, and he is deep in faith.” Yet two weeks earlier, after being rear-ended, he pulled his gun on 26-year old Monique Arredondo while asking for her license. Her 13-year old sister was in the back seat crying. When asked for a comment on the earlier incident. Dallas police spokeswoman Debra Webb said, “the responding officers determined no offense occurred.”
15-year-old Jordan Edwards was also reputed to be of fine character. He maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Was a member of the Mesquite High freshman football team and was beloved by his fellow students. When things got rowdy at a party Edwards was attending. He did the responsible thing, he left.
When called to the scene of that party where there was reportedly underage drinking going on. Officer Oliver was the second policeman on the scene. He saw a car full of teenagers including Jordan Edwards. He shot into the vehicle four times with his MC5 rifle. One of those shots killed Jordan Edwards.
Roy Oliver was remorseful when he took his mug shots after his arrest. He didn’t seem so when he lied about what happened the night he killed Jordan Edwards. He told a tale of a car that was “aggressively driving in reverse” towards him. In a familiar refrain, he was “in fear for his life.” Jordan Edwards had no reason to be afraid for his life. He was a responsible kid with a bright future. He’d done nothing wrong, and now he’s dead.
Body-cam footage showed the car containing Jordan Edwards was not heading in reverse towards Oliver but driving away. The car was never a threat to Oliver but he fired four shots into it anyway. He’s sorry now, there’s no indication he was before his arrest.
I wonder if the officers who ‘determined no offense occurred” two weeks prior are sorry as well? An intervention then might have left Jordan Edwards alive today. There are alleged reports of PTSD from his time in the service. Instead of treatment he got a gun and a badge. The police chief who rushed to his first press conference defending his officer. He looked sorry when he had to retract his initial reports of self-defense. That 4 of the 5 police officers of Balch Springs are white while 4 out of 5 residents are black is worthy of consideration. Is anyone sorry for that?
Roy Oliver may have one point? He is not the only one responsible for putting us in the situation he’s arrived at. The police force that looks down on the community. When the car containing Edwards was stopped two blocks away. They arrested his companions, calling one of them a “nigger.” They overlooked the fact he Oliver out of control, sweeping his behavior under the rug. He had a proven roadmap to follow. Citing “fear for his life” is usually enough to justify murder, except for the camera’s this time that proved him a liar.
I try to feel compassion for Roy Oliver but it does not come. Mine is reserved for the family that lost a loving son. The teammates experiencing their loss. The school missing one of its finest citizens. I feel for those who look like Jordan whose innocence is lost as they realize that they live in a world not safe. I think Roy Oliver’s tears are not for what he’s done but for being caught. My tears are for Jordan, and that he’s gone too soon.