DALLAS – There is mixed reaction to the punishment a former Balch Springs Police Officer is receiving for murdering an innocent and unarmed teen. This week, a Dallas County jury sentenced Roy Oliver to 15-years in prison for shooting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in the head.
Edwards was a passenger in a car filled with teens who were leaving a party when Oliver fired five shots toward the car back in April 2017.
Edwards’ parents say they are relieved the jury convicted Oliver of murder, and they are accepting the sentence the jury handed down. However, many community members argue they do not believe 15-years behind bars equates to justice. “That’s a slap on the wrist compared to what most people get for doing the same thing or less,” said Gerard Claiborne. “Was it justice served? I think it was very middle of the road. More toward the light end.”
Oliver’s murder trial and the jury’s sentencing remained a hot topic across Dallas, hours after the verdict. Stylists and customers at Kingz of Cutz salon in South Dallas were among the many community members debating the issue.
“Justice wasn’t served, if you ask me. 15 years, for killing a teenanger. To me, like I was telling him. All lives matter to me," Alton Turner said.
Some community members are questioning the jury’s process and asking how the jury came up with Oliver’s punishment. "I was really surprised too that they came out with the verdict that they did,” said Levi Wright.
Wright is visiting Dallas from South Carolina. He was familiar about the story of Jordan Edwards’ murder, and it was a case discussed in his hometown. Wright compared Oliver’s trial to the case he remembers involving a white officer in South Carolina who fatally shot unarmed Walter Scott during a traffic stop in that area. "It’s terrible that any type of life is lost, but life being lost with someone that is not armed is pitiful and sad," Wright said.
As community members continued to dissect the details of Oliver’s sentence, some say they know a conviction, alone, is major. "It definitely set a tone that at least somebody has gotten convicted. So, therefore in the future, maybe more convictions on unjust murders," Fred Myers said.
Jordan Edwards’ parents are continuing their quest for justice. They have filed lawsuits in civil court.