As the car carrying then-alive teenager Jordan Edwards departed a house party where everyone in the vehicle collectively felt was no longer safe to remain, Balch Springs, Texas police officer Roy Oliver’s calculations went from zero to I-need-to-kill-somebody within sub-seconds.
Or perhaps Oliver was able to arrive at his deadly conclusion so quickly because he was already traveling at a sufficient cruising speed to use deadly force … ?
Let’s keep this conversation real. Police officers are not trained to draw and fire weapons to injure someone — they are trained to kill. Except the decision to use deadly force is typically driven by the officer’s judgement of whether his life or the lives of others are in danger.
Therefore, a trained-to-kill Oliver’s real-time calculus allowed him to accept the idea that death can be an outcome when he raised his AR-15 rifle to shoot several rounds into a car filled with teenagers — moving away from him — who presented no threat to anyone. One of Oliver’s bullets split open Edwards’ skull.
This means Edwards’ death at the hands of a trained killer, in the absence of a threat, is nothing less than murder.
But what was behind Oliver’s motivation to murder Edwards?
Likely the same reason that Oliver initially used to justify the murder when he said the car he shot at moved aggressively toward him: the perception that African descendants are dangerous animals — worthy of fear and the occasional bullet to the skull.
I rapped about this last July in “Police Reform Alone Won’t Save Black Lives”:
In other words, there’s no amount of police reform or legislation which can erase generations of social programming that depicts African descendants as crime-prone, bottom-dwellers of the world’s social ladder.
What policy can you introduce that will immediately erase hundreds of years of negative media imagery, distorted history, the Curse of Ham and crazy-azz thoughts about super powers?
Given that perception, Oliver likely thought he found his get-out-of-jail-free card. I covered this a couple of years ago:
If a person of African descent has been shot dead, all the shooter needs to do — which works well when the victim is no longer on the planet to refute testimony — is tell a judge or jury that “I feared for my life.”
Oliver has been rightfully fired, arrested and charged with murder. In addition, I also think every officer at the scene of this murder who enabled the release of the initial false police report to their chief should be fired and arrested.
But none of this changes the reality that we have people with badges and guns patrolling our society who are ruled by prejudice and fear.
Or as Toni Morrison tells us:
song currently stuck in my head: “long black limousine” – o.c. smith