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Murder trial opens: Dallas cop killed Black youth in car driving from scene

By Brian Muhammad | Last updated: Aug 21, 2018 - 1:03:25 PM

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(l) Vidal Allen, stepbrother of Jordan Edwards, with his head down. (r) FOI escorts Shaunkeyia Stephens, the biological mother of Jordan Edwards to court.

"What we desire only second to having our beloved Jordan back, is JUSTICE FOR JORDAN," said his in a statement issued a year, after the fatal police shooting of Black teenager Jordan Edwards.

They are hoping the day for justice has arrived with the Aug. 16 opening of the murder trial of a former Balch Springs, Texas cop who fired bullets into the car of Black teens that included 15-year-old Jordan.

Ex-officer Roy Oliver killed Jordan April 29, 2017 while the  teen, his two brothers and a friend were leaving a house party the cop and his partner were breaking up. 

Ex-officer Roy Oliver, second from right, is shown with lawyers as media videotapes the proceedings. Photos: Victor Muhammad

Mr. Oliver shot the teen with a rifle and the death-dealing bullet flew through the passenger's side window. The medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide.

During the 15 months leading up to the trial, police accounts of what happened changed, including a public recanting of the original story by Balch Springs police chief Johnathan Haber. Initially Mr. Oliver claimed the car was driving toward him and refused the commands to stop. After reviewing bodycam footage, Chief Haber said that was a lie, and the car was moving away from the cop.

Last summer, along with murder Mr. Oliver was charged with four counts of assault for each of the other persons in the vehicle. The shooting occurred in a Dallas suburb.

Jordan Edwards (r) Shaunkeyia Stephens and stepson Vidal Allen embrace.

Jordan’s mother, Shaunkeyia Stephens, does not want this type of tragedy to happen to another child in the community, said her attorney Reginald McKamie to The Final Call.

“That’s her emphasis … she don’t want any other mother to have to feel this kind of pain,” he said.

The public is paying very close attention to this trial because of the heinous nature of the shooting and frequency of similar incidents across America.

Statistics show that in most cases police are not convicted for crimes such as murder.

After the criminal trial against Mr. Oliver ends, a civil suit filed in federal court will be heard. “We’re suing so that number one, the mother can be compensated for her loss,” explained Attorney McKamie. “What we want to do is make Bach Springs and Roy Oliver pay for what they took from Ms. Stephens … her child.”

Atty. Andrew Dunlap, Shaunkeyia Stephens and Atty. Timberly Davis
“The other thing we want to accomplish is that Bach Springs and other cities and police departments wake up to the fact that this can’t go on any longer,” said Mr. McKamie.  

Jordan was an honor student and freshman at Mesquite High School full of promise and potential. He was not the stereotype of Blacks often painted by the media in clashes with police.

According to media outlets in the courtroom, Jordan's stepmom, Charmaine Edwards, testified Aug. 16 that he was athletic and "really into his academics." She testified that he got A's and B's in school and was a people person, very close to his brothers.

On the opening day of trial, Michael Snipes, a Dallas County assistant district attorney told jurors that Mr. Oliver was trigger happy when he opened fire in a reckless and unnecessary action.

The actions of the ex-cop are indicative of the need for Black people to organize and police their own communities, said Al Shaheed Muhammad, the Dallas representative for the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“We have to make our community a decent place to live and we have to patrol our own community,” said Mr. Muhammad.  

Kevon Edwards, older brother of Jordan Edwards, with Shaunkeyia Stephens, Jordan’s mother, and, (at left) Vidal Allen, Jordan’s stepbrother.
“As we live in the shadow of death and we look around the country and see what’s been going on during these trials of killing innocent Black men or killing for sport and play … it’s producing a certain spirit in the Black man of the South.”

Mr. Muhammad predicts the case may spark something bigger. He sees the tragedy bringing diverse organizations closer together to address many of the issues affecting Black people.

“As Allah continues to reveal the true nature of our open enemies from the top down from the executive office to the hillbillies, it’s bringing us closer together,” said Mr. Muhammad.

If convicted, Roy Oliver could get a life sentence.