Balch Springs, Texas police chief Jonathan Haber had a difficult time determining that he should fire his friend, officer Roy Oliver, after he fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
Haber, whose own actions after the killing were criticized, wrote to his staff in a memo obtained by The Dallas Morning News: “Today, I am about to make the most difficult decision of my professional career.
“Officer Oliver has been a friend, a co-worker, and fellow veteran; so it is with a heavy heart that I have to indefinitely suspend him and terminate his employment with the city,” he wrote three days after Jordan’s death.
The News obtained the memo, which was emailed to his staff, through a public records request for the hundreds of emails the department sent or received in the days after Oliver fired his rifle on April 29, striking Jordan in the head. Jordan was riding in a car driving away from officers when Oliver fired multiple shots.
The News noted that some emails, which included Twitter direct messages, were profanity-laced missives. Others offered kind words for the department. None specifically supported Oliver.
The department was allowed to withhold some emails because of the ongoing murder case against the killer cop. Oliver’s trial is now scheduled for June.
Haber originally said Oliver fired into the car as it drove toward Oliver and another officer, Tyler Gross. That would have allowed the officer to claim he feared for his life and get away with murder, probably with no trial or charges.
But Haber changed his lie after body camera video showed the car, driven by Jordan’s brother, was actually driving away from the officers, so they had nothing to fear and he simply shot a kid in the back.
Jordan, his two brothers and two friends had been at a party but left after hearing gunshots nearby. Police had been called by someone who complained of drunk teenagers, but there was no alcohol at the party.