What to Know
- Lawsuit claims excessive force, lack of training by Balch Springs, former officer Roy Oliver
- Oliver was suspended for 16 hours in 2013 for behavior in a court case
- In a 2017 employment evaluation, supervisors noted Oliver was disrespectful to a citizen on a call
The family of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, the teenager who was shot by a now-former Balch Springs police officer, have filed suit against the city, department and the officer.
The lawsuit by the Edwards family, filed in Dallas on Friday, claims Roy Oliver used excessive and deadly force while on the call and lacked proper training in his job as a police officer for the City of Balch Springs.
Oliver was released on bond late Friday after being arrested on a murder charge of Edwards on April 29.
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In the suit, the family's attorney said when the teens heard what sounded like gunshots, they tried to leave the area but said Oliver shot into the vehicle with a rifle. Edwards was shot in the head, according to the lawsuit, and his brother drove away after the shooting and called his father.
Oliver and officers were dispatched to the area after a neighbor called police reporting a party with intoxicated teenagers. When officers arrived in the area, there was a report of shots being fired.
Edwards was in a vehicle with other teens when Oliver fired his weapon, according to an arrest warrant. Oliver was fired from the department after the chief learned the vehicle Edwards was in was moving away from the officer, not toward the officer as initially stated by the chief.
The attorney said as the driver of the car was stepping out of the vehicle for police, he went the wrong direction and an officer said, "this n----- doesn't know his f----- left from his right."
The family also claims Edwards' brother was handcuffed and taken into police custody.
The lawsuit cites an instance in 2013 where Oliver was suspended by the Balch Springs Police Department for 16 hours for his behavior as a witness in a Dallas County DWI case.
In the personnel files from Balch Springs, obtained under an open records request, the Dallas County District Attorney's Office filed a complaint against Oliver because it was difficult to get him to show up for court and his language used in court.
Oliver admitted he was "angry and aggressive while at court," according to a discipline document from the department.
The documents said Oliver admitted to responding to a prosecutor's question with, "I don't understand the f----- question."
In the disciplinary document prepared by then-chief Ed Morris, prosecutors sent text messages each other saying Oliver was not going to be a cooperative witness in the case and in an e-mail one prosecutor said Oliver was a "scary person to have in our workroom."
Oliver was suspended for 16 hours, but according to his personnel file, he gave up sick time in lieu of being suspended. He also received training in anger management and courtroom demeanor and testimony.
Oliver's most recent employment evaluation in January included an instance where he was "disrespectful to a civilian on a call." The evaluation said, "it was an isolated incident that was documented and not repeated."
The Edwards family is asking for a jury to hear their case in federal court. An attorney for Oliver has not responded to calls for comment since Oliver's arrest on Friday.
On Sunday, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins released a statement about the deadly shooting.