More than a year after 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot and killed by police in a suburb outside of Dallas, Texas, former police officer Roy Oliver has been found guilty of murder.
Oliver, who is white, was previously fired from the Balch Springs Police Department days following the incident. According to the Associated Press, gasps were heard in the Dallas County courtroom after the verdict was read, as Edwards’ relatives cried and proclaimed “Thank you, Jesus!"
The shooting occurred in April 2017, when Oliver and his partner responded to a report of a party involving underage drinking. After the officers heard distant gunfire and went outside to investigate, Oliver opened fire on a group of teens in a vehicle, killing Edwards, who was a Mesquite High School freshman at the time.
During the trial, Oliver claimed he shot at the car because it was moving toward his partner, but his partner Tyler Gross testified otherwise and said on the stand that he never feared for his life or felt the need to use his gun.
The jurors deliberated for two days before giving their guilty verdict.
This verdict is a very rare outcome for police brutality cases since conversations about police shootings and violence took center stage following the murder of Mike Brown in 2014. Many officers who kill black and brown people are indicted, but few are charged and even less are found guilty, marking a rare occasion of justice when police are rarely held accountable for their actions.
"This was a long fought battle," said Daryl Washington, an attorney representing Edwards' family.