A former Texas police officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison, much less than the 60 years sought by prosecutors, who called him a ‘killer in blue,’ during closing arguments prior to his conviction for the murder of an unarmed 15-year-old boy.
Roy Oliver, a former officer employed by the Balch Springs Police Department, near Dallas, was sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a day after a jury convicted him of murder in the 2017 shooting death of Jordan Edwards. Oliver was also fined $10,000, but the jury did not find him guilty of two counts of aggravated assault.
Oliver’s conviction, which is rare for a police officer, comes before the trial of another police officer opens next week in Chicago. Jayson Van Dyke, a member of the Chicago Police Department, is
charged with six counts of murder in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed 17-year-old.
McDonald was shot 16 times as he walked away from Van Dyke, who initially said the teenager approached with a switchblade with the knife extended.
He claimed he fired his gun because he feared for his life but none of the other officers at the scene fired their weapons or even pulled their guns from their holsters.
A police dash cam video contradicted Van Dyke’s statement. The dash cam showed McDonald walking away from Van Dyke.
The knife, which was in McDonald’s pocket, was closed. Some 20 citizen complaints have been filed previously against Van Dyke.
Recently, Van Dyke has been giving newspaper and television interviews in which he denied that he is ‘trigger happy,’ or ‘a racist cop.’
Jordan Edwards’ family and friends and even Oliver’s half-sister, Wendi, celebrated his conviction. Wendi testified against her half-brother. During her testimony, she said she hoped he would get what he deserved.
Court observers were happy but not all that happy.
Some of Jordan’s friends and family complained the sentence was too short. Oliver’s attorneys said they will appeal his conviction.
Oliver shot to death Jordan Edwards in 2017 when he fired into a car filled with teenagers. Jordan Edwards was sitting in the front passenger seat and was leaving a friend’s party, when he was killed.
Oliver said he fired his gun because he feared for his life and that of his partner. His partner, however, testified he never felt threatened and never pulled his gun.
Daryl Washington, attorney for Jordan Edwards’ father, said the jury’s decision was not just about Jordan Edwards, it was about all of the black men and black women, the majority of them unarmed, killed by police.