A former Balch Springs police officer who was convicted of murder is now facing a federal civil lawsuit from the family of the victim alleging excessive force and wrongful death.
Murder victim Jordan Edwards’ older brothers, Vidal Allen and Kevon Edwards — who were in the car at the time of his shooting — and his father, Odell Edwards, are listed as plaintiffs in the 2017 civil suit against former officer Roy Oliver and the City of Balch Springs.
Balch Springs was later dropped from the suit, as ordered by a federal judge.
According to paperwork filed with the court, the plaintiffs alleged that the police department “failed to train and supervise or discipline its officers” in the constitutional use of deadly force. The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Emotions ran high in the courtroom on Monday, the first day of Oliver’s civil trial, reported KHOU. The officers’ body camera footage from the incident was played several times, and graphic crime scene photos were also shared, causing visible stress to Edwards’ family. Several people left the courtroom at various points of the testimony.
On April 29, 2017, after hearing gunshots while on another call, Officer Roy Oliver and his partner walked outside and ordered a car that was reversing down the street to stop. The vehicle stopped but then began to move forward slowly, at which point Oliver discharged his weapon multiple times as the vehicle, filled with five teenagers, drove past him.
One bullet struck Jordan Edwards, 15, in the back of the head as he sat in the car’s front passenger seat. Oliver was convicted for the murder of Edwards in August 2018 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
He appealed, but the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas upheld the conviction.
Edwards was a freshman at Mesquite High School, where he maintained a 3.5 grade-point average and played on the football team.
He was also considered a friendly community member, with friends and family nicknaming him “Smiley” because he always smiled, according to KHOU 11.
Why doesn’t Double Jeopardy apply in this and similar cases?