BALCH SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of a 15-year-old black teen by a police officer (all times local):
A Dallas suburb that had employed the white officer before he moved to Balch Springs where he shot and killed a black teen says that employment records show Roy Oliver had a clean record.
Dalworthington Gardens says in a press release that Oliver he worked intermittently from 1999 to 2011 as a public works employee, public safety officer and dispatcher for the suburb. He received an award for “meritorious conduct” as a dispatcher and there were no documented complaints or disciplinary action in either his work as a public safety officer or dispatcher.
When he worked for public works there were three cases of minor property damage when he used city vehicles and equipment and was placed on 30 days probation. No other details were provided.
Oliver was hired by Balch Springs in 2011 and was fired Tuesday after he shot and killed a 15-year-old black boy leaving a party. Oliver served six years in the Army, with two deployments to Iraq, and later completed almost two years in the Texas National Guard.
The Dallas suburb where a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager as he left a party has a population that’s just 20 percent white but a police department that’s 80 percent white.
Balch Springs now confronts the same issues of race and law enforcement as Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore and other cities that have been thrust into the spotlight because of police killings of African-Americans.
Officer Roy Oliver was fired three days after the Saturday night shooting. But lawyers for 15-year-old Jordan Edwards’ family said Wednesday that the city must answer for more than Oliver, including a racial slur allegedly yelled at one of Edwards’ brothers moments after the shooting. The family also wants the officer to be charged with a crime.
Edwards, his two brothers and two other teenagers were driving away from an unruly house party when the officer opened fire on their vehicle with a rifle. The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window and struck Edwards.
It took a few moments for Edwards’ 16-year-old brother, who was driving, and other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat. His brother pulled over and tried to call for help.
Police ordered him to step out of the car and back away. As he moved, he heard someone call him a racial slur and say he didn’t understand directions, according to family lawyers Jasmine Crockett and Lee Merritt.
“When you have a police force that’s completely the opposite the makeup of the town, I do think it’s a problem,” Crockett said Wednesday in an interview. “I do feel there’s a sense of fear that comes into a lot of officers’ minds, because it’s the fear of the unknown.”
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