Police Chief Changes Account in Shooting Death Of 15-Year-Old Jordan Edwards

Police body cam footage contradicts the information he was originally provided, Chief Jonathan Haber says.

Two days after a Texas police officer was placed on administrative leave in the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, authorities say video of the encounter contradicts internal information they received about it.

Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber had previously said that an officer had fired at a car of passengers heading toward police in reverse.

But at a press conference on Monday, Haber called that statement “unintentionally incorrect” and said video evidence revealed the car was actually driving away from officers.

“After further investigation, I have additional information that is contradictory to the information that was provided to me,” Haber said.

The police chief did not say who provided the original, incorrect information. He also declined to release a copy of the video to the media.

An undated photo of Jordan Edwards, 15, who was killed by a police officer on Saturday.
An undated photo of Jordan Edwards, 15, who was killed by a police officer on Saturday.

The unidentified officer at the center of the case shot into a vehicle on Saturday night, killing Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School. At the time of the shooting, Edwards and three other teens were riding in a vehicle that Edwards’ 16-year-old brother was driving.

On Sunday, Haber told reporters that an “unknown altercation” had occurred before the shooting, and that the officer opened fire after the vehicle started “backing down the road toward the officers in an aggressive manner.”

But the police chief now says footage from a body-worn camera tells a different story. Haber says he was “unintentionally incorrect … when I said the vehicle was backing down the road. In fact, according to the video that I viewed, the vehicle was moving forward as the officer was approached.”

Dallas attorney Lee Merritt, who represents Edwards’ family, told HuffPost on Monday that the shooting occurred as the teens were leaving a party.

“As they backed out of a parking space, they heard someone shouting profanities at them,” Merritt said. “Before they had a chance to respond, the person shouting at them shot three shots into the vehicle and one of the three rounds went into Jordan Edwards’ forehead.”

Merritt, citing witness statements, said the bullet that killed Edwards “came through the front passenger-side window.”

Haber said the officer who shot Edwards has been with the department for about six years, and has been placed on administrative leave. He also made it clear he had questions about the account he’d received and why it differed from the camera footage.

“I do have questions in relation to my observation on the video and what is consistent with the policies and core values of the Balch Springs Police Department,” Haber said.

The police chief, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to comment on the weapon the officer used to shoot Edwards.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled Edwards’ death a homicide. A spokesperson for that office told HuffPost the teen’s cause of death was a “rifle wound,” but declined to say whether the weapon was an AR-15 ― a rifle popular with law enforcement agencies.

Merritt was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Both the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting.

David Lohr covers crime and missing persons. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow him on Twitter.

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