The Balch Springs police department in Texas is now retracting their original account of the shooting death of 15-year old Jordan Edwards.
It was Saturday night [April 29, 2017] that Edwards, a star athlete and model student at Mesquite High School in Balch Springs, was fatally shot after leaving a party in a Dallas-area suburb.
The department’s initial account was that Edwards was in a car that was being driven in reverse in an “aggressive manner” when an officer opened fire, striking and killing him.
It was in a press conference Monday that Balch Springs police chief Jonathan Haber revealed that after watching the video footage of the incident, he was “unintentionally incorrect”.
The original statement was that officers were dispatched to a Balch Springs suburb in response to an 11 p.m. 911 call that reported a handful of inebriated teenagers walking around the neighborhood.
Upon arrival, officers allegedly heard gunshots, then a vehicle began “backing down the street towards officers in an aggressive manner”.
That is when one officer shot at the vehicle, striking Jordan Edwards, who was in the passenger seat, in the head.
Monday afternoon signaled the complete retraction of this initial statement. Video footage revealed that the vehicle was driving away when that officer fired his rifle.
“On behalf of the entire Balch Springs Police Department and the city of Balch Springs we express our sincere condolences with the family,” Haber said. “I have reached out and personally met and spoken with the parents and expressed my condolences as well.”
Haber has not planned to release the body-cam footage of Edwards’ final moments, and has also kept the identity of the officer involved, who was placed on administrative duty, hidden for now.
“We are declaring war on bad policing. This has happened far too often,” said Jordan Edwards’ family’s attorney Lee Merrit during a press conference Monday. “We are tired of making the same rhetorical demands, of having the same hashtags; our community is fed up with the same tired excuses, once again offered by Balch Springs Police Department yesterday, that this was somehow the fault of the victims — teenage kids with no criminal records, with no motive to attempt to hurt anyone, with no evidence that they ever attempted to hurt anyone.”