DALLAS — Tuesday was day two of former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver’s federal civil trial at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas. Oliver is facing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
On April 29, 2017, Edwards was shot and killed while riding in the front passenger seat of a vehicle that was driving away. Oliver discharged his weapon into a car with five teenagers. Edwards was struck in the back of the head.
In 2018, Oliver was convicted in his criminal trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder.
During his 2023 civil trial, many of the same people from the 2018 trial took the stand again. On Tuesday, several law enforcement officers involved in the case went over their investigation.
In the afternoon, Edwards’ head football coach testified.
Jeff Fleener, currently the head football coach at Forney High School, was the head football coach in Mesquite in 2017. He didn’t expect he would have to testify six years after the incident.
Fleener said, “It immediately felt like a kick to the stomach again and brought a lot of emotions. We are coming up on the six-year anniversary, which is always a hard time for us. […] To this day, I make sure that his parents understand the second that they call and need something from me, we’re going to jump at the chance to do that.”
He described Edwards as a gifted athlete who always had friends around him. He said Edwards was the kind of student or player that any teacher or coach would want.
“A lot has been talked about as far as his dream was to go play football at Alabama. People ask me about that all that time. I can tell you that the potential was there," said Fleener.
Many people called Edwards “Smiley”, but Fleener called him “Smiles”.
“It’s just who he was. I mean, you saw him and he was going to jump up and he was going to smile,” the coach said. “Just an amazing, amazing young man that something very senseless happened to.”
The Edwards family attorney, Daryl Washington, said the goal of this civil trial is accountability.
“This is something that Jordan would want them to do, to fight to the very end,” said Washington.
He said it’s been difficult for the family to sit through videos, photos and evidence from their son’s death.
As the trial continues, Washington said Roy Oliver is expected to take the stand. Oliver’s attorney would not comment at the time of this publication.