Department of Justice preparing to investigate Balch Springs PD

- The Department of Justice is preparing to go inside the Balch Springs Police Department on the heels of the murder of a 15-year-old by an officer.

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office told FOX 4 last week that the DOJ was opening a case on the Balch Springs Police Department after the shooting death of Jordan Edwards.

Roy Oliver, the now-fired officer who shot Jordan, is waiting for a grand jury to decide if he will face murder charges.

Local U.S. attorneys and FBI agents will have support from Washington D.C as the Justice Department goes beyond the obvious in its scrutiny of the police department.

At a Mother's Day rally over the weekend, Charmaine Edwards made her first public comments about her slain son.

READ MORE: Family of teen killed by officer speaks publicly for the first time

“He was 15 when he was killed by the Balch Springs Police Department,” she said. “His favorite color was red. He loved football. And we are all fighting for justice.”

For 16 years, Aaron Wiley was an assistant U.S. attorney in North Texas but left that post in January. Wiley says the federal probe will go far beyond the killing of Jordan Edwards by Roy Oliver.

“When we're looking at the behavior of a police department and the federal authorities come in, they're looking for violations of civil rights,” he said.

The government will try and determine the department’s culture and look into its patterns and practices of policing.

“They're gonna look at actual conversations with text messages with emails. Not just within the police department, but also with the municipality,” Wiley said. “They're gonna look at the rate of traffic stops. They're gonna look at are people from protected classes stopped at a disproportionately high level. They're gonna look at the number of excessive force cases.”

The door of change that can open in a department is not the only door that could open as a result of a federal investigation.

“When the report comes out, it ends up being very fertile ground for individuals that have been wronged during that time period and can result in substantial civil liabilities for municipalities,” Wiley explained.

No timetable has been provided for the DOJ’s investigation of its start or finish or its culminating report.

 

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