The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 81/No. 20      May 22, 2017


Dallas cop fired, charged after cover up of killing unravels

Former cop Roy Oliver has been charged with murder six days after he shot Jordan Edwards, 15, dead on April 29 in Balch Springs, a suburb of Dallas. An attempted cop cover up of the police killing quickly unraveled one day after the shooting, when Police Chief Jonathan Haber retracted the original description of the shooting and pressure grew for Oliver’s prosecution.

Edwards, who is African-American, was killed as the car he was riding in headed away from a Saturday night party. Oliver alleged the car was being driven at him, a lie first repeated and then retracted by Haber, who then fired Oliver. Haber said he reviewed videos of the shooting and had to act. “Dallas County has not indicted a cop involved in a fatal shooting in over 40 years,” Minister Dominique Alexander, president of the Next Generation Action Network, a Dallas civil rights group, told the Militant May 4. “Yet they pay out millions of dollars to the families of victims of cop killings.”

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks attended an interfaith service in Balch Springs May 3, telling participants that if Oliver was not charged they should be “prepared for unrest in the most constructive sense of the word.” The following night 300 people attended a vigil in Edwards’ memory, sponsored by a wide range of area religious groups, Mothers Against Police Brutality and others.

The same week former cop Michael Slager pled guilty to depriving Walter Scott of his civil rights by killing him in North Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Authorities there saw no choice but to charge him after release of a graphic video taken by a bystander and given to the family that showed Slager shoot Scott eight times in the back as he was running away. Daily protests, vigils and meetings took place demanding Slager be prosecuted.

Under the plea agreement, state murder charges against Slager will be dropped. Slager had gone to trial last December, but the case ended in a mistrial.

At the hearing, Slager took responsibility for the killing. He admitted he didn’t shoot Scott in self-defense and there was no justification for his actions.

“Today is rare,” Chris Stewart, attorney for the family of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by cops in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last July, told the press. “And hopefully this will be the blueprint of future successes for civil rights because it’s got to change.”

Ironically, the same day it was made public that the Justice Department declined to press charges against the cops who killed Sterling, despite video evidence of them holding him down and shooting him point blank.

Washington officials announced their decision to the press without having the decency to inform Stewart, Sterling’s family or Baton Rouge authorities.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home