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Before Jordan Edwards, 8 times police videos showed the real story

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At first, the story went, police fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards after the car he rode in aggressively backed toward Balch Springs officers.

But a day later, after watching police body-camera footage, Chief Jonathan Haber said the car was actually driving away from the cops when Officer Roy Oliver shot his rifle into the car of teenagers, striking Jordan in the head.

 

Oliver testified during the trial that he had “no other option” but to fire his rifle fives times because the car moved forward slightly. He said he feared the car would strike his partner. But prosecutors said he and his partner, Tyler Gross, were never in any danger. Gross also testified he wasn’t in danger.

Jurors had to decide what Oliver believed in the moment he pulled the trigger in making their decision.

After Jordan’s death, the police and the community both would have been better off if police hadn’t given in to public pressure for fast answers, said Alex Piquero, a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas who studies police use of force.

“People want information as quick as possible. But sometimes speed is the enemy of correctness,” Piquero said. A change to the story “adds a cloud to the process.” Police should have watched the video before telling Oliver’s side of the story, Piquero said.

Haber, who fired Oliver for violating unnamed department policies, said that is exactly what he should have done. The department first got body cams in December 2014, something that Haber pushed for.

That’s “my inability to get all the facts like I should have,” Haber said last year. “That was solely on me. In a rush to get the information out, to be transparent … I missed a step.”

Here are eight other videos that shaped perspectives on police investigations.  

Warning: these videos include graphic images and language. 

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Dallas

BEER BARON: Man steals five cases of beer from Arlington store

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 – Police are looking for a beer baron who stole several cases of beer from a convenience store.

Arlington PD tweeted pictures Wednesday of the man who stole five cases of Bud Light from a store in the 5000 block of Little School Road.

Police say the suspect got away in a gray Dodge truck.

Anyone who recognizes him is urged to call Det. Thompson at 817-459-6054 or email leonor.thompson@arlingtontx.gov.

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Dallas

Botham Jean’s Parents Meet With Dallas County District Attorney

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The parents of the man killed in his own apartment by a now-former Dallas police officer met for around three hours with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson Tuesday for an update on the case.

Botham Jean was shot by off-duty officer Amber Guyger, who said she thought she was in her own apartment at the time and that Jean was a burglar.

Guyger shot Jean on Sept. 6, was charged with manslaughter Sept. 9 and fired Sept. 24.

District Attorney Faith Johnson has promised to conduct her own investigation and present the findings to a grand jury, which will decide what charges should go to trial.

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Dallas

Two Lamar High School Juniors Killed in a Car Crash

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Two Arlington Lamar High School students and one of their mothers were killed in a crash in East Texas early Tuesday morning, authorities say.

Faith Whittaker and Jessica Brown, both 16, were riding in a Jeep Renegade driven by 36-year-old Chelsey Brewer when the car drifted off the roadway and crashed into a parked tractor-trailer in Lindale about 4:20 a.m. Monday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, which was legally parked, was sleeping in the cab at the time and was not injured, DPS said.

Brewer was Whittaker’s mother and the two girls were cousins. The three were returning from a weekend trip to visit other family members in Mississippi, friends said.

In a tweet, Lamar High School said students Faith Whittaker and Jessica Brown “will be missed tremendously.”

 

Whittaker was involved in sports medicine and Brown, culinary arts.

Both girls were trainers for the school’s basketball team.

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