The family of Jordan Edwards, who was shot and killed by Roy Oliver, has sued the former Balch Springs officer and his department, accusing the department of inadequately training the officer and ignoring warning signs that he was prone to erratic behavior.
Edwards' funeral was Saturday, one week after the 15-year-old was shot dead in a vehicle leaving a house party in Balch Springs. According to the Edwards family's lawyers, officer Oliver fired his rifle at the vehicle as it was driving away, striking Edwards through the passenger side window.
Oliver was fired Tuesday. On Friday, he was arrested on a murder charge. He turned himself into Parker County Jail and was released Friday night after posting $300,000 bond.
The federal lawsuit, filed Friday, says police should have known Oliver had "exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public," including a prosecutor's complaint about his aggressive behavior detailed in personnel records. The complaint said prosecutors had a hard time getting Oliver to attend a trial and used language vulgar enough that one prosecutor sent an intern out of the room. Oliver received a 16-hour suspension over the complaint.
But the lawsuit also blames Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber and the department for having "failed to provide adequate training to Oliver on appropriate methods and techniques to control situations similar to the one" that occurred on the night of April 29, when police were called to investigate underage drinking at a chaotic house party with dozens of teenagers.
"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," Jasmine Crockett, one of the family's attorneys, said Sunday.
Crockett said attorneys filed the lawsuit to preserve the legal rights of the teenager's father, Odell Edwards. The lawsuit broadly seeks damages for Edwards' wrongful death, but does not list a specific amount of money. No hearings have been scheduled. Read more about the suit from The Dallas Morning News.
Even with the quick action to fire and arrest Oliver, as Edwards' family and people protesting the shooting had demanded, "people are still nervous and expecting to be disappointed," Crockett said.
"That's what we expect from our system time and time again," she said.
The day after the shooting, police issued a statement saying the vehicle was reversing toward officers "in an aggressive manner." Haber corrected that statement Monday after reviewing police video footage, saying the vehicle was actually driving away from the officers when Oliver fired his rifle. He admitted he didn’t have all the facts before initially addressing the public.
Balch Springs' use of force policy — in line with national recommendations — instructs officers to avoid shooting at moving vehicles unless their lives or others' are in imminent danger. But the lawsuit says officials had the responsibility to determine whether Oliver knew how to respond.
"Oliver's inadequate training resulted in the death of Edwards," the lawsuit said.
The Dallas County district attorney and sheriff are currently conducting the criminal investigation into the death of Jordan Edwards.