A Texas jury on Tuesday found a white police officer guilty of murder in the 2017 shooting of a Black teenager, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The case stemmed from Roy Oliver firing five times into a car carrying teenagers leaving a party, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. An internal police investigation found that officers were responding to a report of underage drinking at a house party when Oliver fired a rifle at the vehicle. A bullet went through the passenger-side window and fatally struck the unarmed Edwards in the head.
After 12 hours of deliberations on Monday and Tuesday, the jury found Oliver, 38, not guilty on two other counts of aggravated assault in connection with the shooting. They also rejected finding him guilty of manslaughter, which carries a lesser punishment than murder (20 years compared with up to life in prison).
Jurors watched police body camera footage showing how the situation escalated quickly from Oliver and his partner joking with the party’s host and teenagers until the fatal shooting. Things suddenly became frantic after a gunshot was heard. The two officers dashed out of the house to investigate. Oliver fired into the vehicle Edwards was in as it drove off while his partner was trying to stop the car from leaving the scene.
It turned out that the gunfire came from a nearby nursing home.
Tuesday’s verdict was a rare conviction. There are roughly 1,000 police shootings every year in the United States, but officers seldom face justice. According to CNN, only 80 cops were arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings between 2005 and April 2017. However, only 35 percent of those arrests led to convictions in that 12-year period.