Residents of Balch Springs, Texas were disgusted upon hearing that the unarmed black teen who was fatally shot by an officer on Saturday night was not, in fact, endangering the lives of police at the time of his death. The vehicle he was driving was headed away from the scene, not being reversed back into as previously claimed by the department. Since this news broke, an investigation has been launched, with the offending officer having been placed on leave.
NBC DFW5 reveals that although Balch Springs police chief Jonathan Haber has not exactly apologized for his error in describing exactly what occurred in the police video footage, he did admit that he was “disturbed” by what he saw. After the incident took place, Haber released a statement insisting that 15-year-old Jordan Edwards had been driving backwards towards the group of officers who had arrived on scene to deal with an underage drinking complaint, and as such one of them fired his rifle at the vehicle for the police’s own safety. However, upon reviewing the footage once more, Haber was forced to admit that Edwards and the four other teens he was with had merely been attempting to leave the area. One of Jordan’s companions was his little brother, who was unable to help and as such had to watch him pass away.
CBS DFW reports that Lee Merritt, attorney for the family of the slain Balch Springs teenager, does not feel any sort of sympathy for Haber nor the rest of the law enforcement authorities involved, as he simply “cannot wrap [his] mind around why an officer decided to shoot into the car”. The boys were merely trying to exit a neighborhood were trouble was stirring, he continues, and this “misinterpretation” of the video footage is likely nothing more than a blatant attempt to cover up an unforgiveable act.
As for the wishes of the teenager’s family to see the officer not only fired, but also charged with a criminal offense, no such decisions have been made at this time as the Balch Springs police chief insists that more time is needed for the investigation to be completed thoroughly. The officer’s identity and race are also being withheld, with Haber refusing to release the video itself. He continues to remain somewhat mum on the matter, only saying that Edwards’ shooter “did not meet the set of core values” laid out by the BSPD.
The guidelines set out for officers when it comes to potentially being hit by a vehicle, reveals Dallas News, are centered around doing one’s best to move out of the way if at all possible. Discharging a weapon at either the vehicle or anyone inside it is a last resort option. Given that the car in question was not even driving towards policemen when shots were fired, says Merritt, this latest killing of an unarmed black person stands out somewhat more than the others due to its “sheer recklessness”.
By Lorelai Zelmerlow
Photo Courtesy Balch Springs Police