Today, May 5th, Officer Roy Oliver was arrested and charged with the murder of Jordan Edwards. His bond was set at $300,000 and, if convicted, he will face up to life in prison.
The day before, Oliver had been fired from the Balch Springs police department.
Oliver’s firing and arrest less than a week after he killed 15-year old Jordan Edwards as he and friends were driving away from a party clearly reflects the brutal facts of this case: Oliver shot a rifle into a car full of unarmed teenagers and then lied in an attempt to cover up the murder, saying the car was backing up towards him.
But the speed of Oliver’s firing and arrest also reflect the rising tide and influence of the Movement for Black Lives and millions of ordinary citizens organizing for an end to impunity for officers who murder innocent African-Americans.
By Friday, hundreds of thousands of people had signed a petition led by ColorOfChange calling for the arrest of Officer Oliver and the media had been forced to take notice of this killing of an innocent Black teen.
Yet again, a young Black child has been gunned down by a police officer. This is outrageous. This is unacceptable. This is what racism and injustice looks like.
As Black people, we know first-hand what it looks like for your country to hate you. We know what it looks like for your state to arm officers, empower them, and allow them to kill you in cold blood — all because of your Black skin.
The senseless killing of Jordan Edwards adds to the growing list of merciless police-involved shootings of Black youth. Though mainstream media spins the stories of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Edwards, and countless other Black youth as isolated incidents void of racial bias, we know the truth. Whether it’s slavery, Jim Crow laws, or police brutality, state-based anti-black violence is as American as apple pie.
In this country, for no reason, Black kids are perceived as dangerous and treated unjustly. Because of his race, a harmless 15-year-old was shot with an AR-15 assault rifle — a weapon typically used for hunting.
A young Black boy was shot because police consistently see young Black boys as dangerous. This boy could have been our son; our brother; our friend. As a result, Black families are living in terror, knowing that we are not equally protected by the state.
Jordan’s death begs us to wonder how white youth, even the most troublesome ones, are seen as “reachable” while Black youth are unfairly viewed as criminals. It is a tragic reminder that Black lives have little value in so many police departments.
The Edwards family has endured a grave injustice, and we will fight to ensure that justice is served. The seeds of change are coming from you and millions of people standing up to say that Black Lives Matter, that we will not tolerate hate, and that we demand justice.
Roy Oliver has been fired and criminally charged. But the arrest is just the first step. He must now be convicted.
So we are encouraging you to keep the pressure on the authorities in Texas: sign the Color Of Change petition demanding that justice is served.