The father of slain 15-year-old Jordan Edwards is suing former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver and the suburban Dallas police force that fired him, claiming the cop was known for a “short fuse.”
The wrongful death suit filed Friday on behalf of Jordan’s father, Odell Edwards, accuses the Balch Springs Police Department of failing to supervise and properly discipline the 37-year-old cop for multiple instances where he displayed brash behavior.
On April 16, about two weeks before Jordan’s death, Oliver pulled a gun on a woman who rear-ended him while off-duty in southwest Dallas, according to documents filed in the Northern District of Texas.
The driver, Monique Arredondo, not realizing Oliver was a cop, asked him to put his gun away, which only ignited his ire.
“Defendant Oliver refused, began to yell, became very upset, and never identified himself as an officer,” documents state.
Arredondo called police “because as far as she knew a man was holding her at gunpoint.”
He was reprimanded in January for being “disrespectful to a civilian on a call” but his bosses dismissed it as an isolated incident and urged him to be “mindful of his leadership role in the department,” according to personnel records, cited in the federal case.
Oliver’s aggressive behavior earned him a mere 16-hour suspension in December 2013.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office lodged its own complaint against Oliver after he refused to testify during a drunken-driving trial and when he did, he graced the court with “vulgar language.”
His profanity-laced testimony prompted an assistant district attorney to send an intern out of the room.
“I don’t understand the f—ing question,” Oliver allegedly said, while on the stand.
One district attorney texted another, saying that Oliver was “scaring them,” according to the suit.
Now, Oliver is out of a job after six years with the Balch Springs force and faces a murder charge in the shooting death of young Jordan.
The rifle-toting officer confronted a vehicle full of teens outside a home, hurling profanities before opening fire on the car during the April 29 shooting. He fatally shot the 15-year-old high school student with a single bullet to the head as his older brother attempted to flee gunshots that erupted at a house party.
The impact threw Jordan toward his brother’s shoulder as he drove away. Cops surrounded the teen driver a block away from the home as he called his father for help, court documents show.
One of the officers asked the boy to slowly step out of the vehicle.
“He was so afraid after just witnessing his brother being shot in the head, he inadvertently moved to his right,” documents state.
The suit then claims an officer, who was not identified, used a racial slur, saying “this n—– doesn’t know his f—ing left from his right.”
Both Jordan and his brother are black. The fired officer, Oliver, is white.
“There was no reason that any person in America — not just a black person — should ever have to bury their 15-year-old child who was doing everything right in life,” said Jasmine Crockett, a lawyer for Jordan’s family, on Sunday.
Whether the family will find justice in Jordan’s death remains unclear.
“People are still nervous and expecting to be disappointed,” Crockett added. “That’s what we expect from our system time and time again.”
The teen, who was identified in court records only as V.A., claims he was never told why he was being harassed, detained or arrested.
Within a day of Jordan’s death, Balch Springs police Chief Jonathan Haber said he initially believed the vehicle that Oliver shot at was driving “aggressively” towards officers. But body camera footage disputed that claim, showing the teens attempting to leave the house party and driving away from the officers.
The suit alleges that had the body camera not been produced, the police force would have continued to defend Oliver.
A spokesperson for Balch Springs police and lawyer for Oliver did not immediately respond to the Associated Press’ request for comment on Sunday.
The lawsuit demands a jury trial but does not list specific amount in damages.
With News Wire Services