Community activists say Roy Oliver case should be example for other police departments

Image 1 of 3

Almost immediately after the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, a pair of community activists worked closely alongside the Balch Springs Police Department to keep the peace.

Reverend Ronald Wright and Ernest Walker stood with Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber as he announced the department was firing Roy Oliver. He was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering Edwards.

Wright tells FOX 4 the handling of Oliver’s case should serve as an example to other police departments. In the last decade, Olive is only the second officer to be convicted on murder charges in the U.S.

Some had planned to protest Tuesday night if Oliver was found innocent. They now say Oliver’s case might serve as a case study.

Rev. Wright was notably not walking the protest lines on Tuesday night. Instead, hours after a guilty verdict for Roy Oliver, the reverend is hailing the handling of the case as a model.

“Hopefully, this could be the litmus test and set stage for Dallas and all these other law enforcement officers and agencies need to look at,” said Rev. Wright with the Texas Justice Seekers.

In the days after Oliver's shooting of Jordan Edwards, Chief Haber initially stood by his officer, believing Oliver's word that the car Edwards was riding in drove toward officers. When body camera proved otherwise, he changed his mind with Wright and Ernest Walker alongside him.

“This was solely on me in a rush to get information out,” Haber said when he first announced Oliver’s firing.

Haber, Rev. Wright and Walker went on to appear again unified live on FOX 4 News. At times they discouraged protesters, passing along the wishes of the Edwards family. Ultimately, they waited for justice to be served — as it was in a Dallas courtroom 16 months later.

“I think the community in Balch Springs is going to be happy and satisfied that justice was served in their city,” Wright said.

Since the shooting, the reverend believes the city and the chief have taken positive steps to repair the damages done by the Jordan Edwards shooting and hopefully set an example for other cities marked by a potentially divisive tragedy.

“I think by the grace of God in Balch Springs that the police department has continued to work with the community and put on community events to mend what took place in that city,” Wright said.

There were some protests tentatively planned Tuesday night if the jury did not reach a guilty verdict. However, observers are still closely watching to see what the sentence will be in the case.