The family of a 15-year-old unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by Texas police Saturday are demanding answers in the latest incident of police violence in America.
Jordan Edwards was leaving a Balch Springs house party with friends when the unidentified officer fired shots at the vehicle occupied by the teens. Edwards, who was struck in the head by a rifle, was transferred to a nearby hospital, where he died from from his injuries, Dallas News reports.
Officers on the scene were reportedly responding to a 911 call “reporting several underage kids drunk walking around.” According to police, the officers heard gunshots and witnessed a vehicle backing down the street towards them in an “aggressive manner.” Those gunshots, a lawyer for Jordan’s family says, prompted the Mesquite High School student and friends to flee the party in the first place.
A short while later, attorney Lee Merritt told the Dallas News, three shots were fired into their vehicle. The officer, who has since been placed on administrative leave, opened fire, striking the teenager.
On Monday, the Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled Jordan’s death a homicide.
While the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office vow to conduct a investigation, Merritt disputes the police account, calling it a fabrication in a statement, NBC News reports. The teens the police were called about initially were not the teenagers in the vehicle fired upon, according to the attorney.
“As the family struggles to deal with the pointless murder of their child they now have to face false claims of under-age drinking and fabrications about ‘aggressive’ behavior,” the statement read.
“The Balch Springs PD has offered a familiar narrative in the absence of weapons or any indication of actual danger to the officer and any other person. The claim that the vehicle that Edwards occupied when he was shot ‘moved in an aggressive way toward an officer’ is transparently contrived in order to justify a defenseless act of murder,” he said.
According to Merritt, the car of five teenage boys was trying to move out of a parking space when a person shouting profanity and shining a flashlight approached the vehicle. “Before the driver could respond, the unidentified police officer fired multiple shots at the vehicle.” The police account “will not hold water when the facts come out,” Merritt said, according to Dallas News.
Jordan’s parents are calling for the unidentified officer to be arrested and charged.
“The best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world would happen, and he’d smile, and everything would be OK,” Jordan’s football coach, Jeff Fleener, told the Dallas News.
“You create a checklist of everything you would want in a player, a son, a teammate, a friend, and Jordan had all that. He was that kid.”