As law enforcement’s disparate use of force against Blacks continues to stoke division, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals plans to review the high-profile murder conviction of former police officer Roy Oliver, who fatally shot an unarmed Black teenager, the Texas Tribune reports. In 2018, Oliver, who is white, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the 2017 Balch Springs shooting death of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old passenger in a car moving away from officers. The jury’s decision was a landmark, as police officers are rarely indicted — and almost never convicted of murder — in on-duty shootings. Oliver has been in prison for more than two years, and he is not eligible for parole until 2026. He contends that the statements he made to internal affairs investigators were wrongly used against him in his criminal case.
The issue came up repeatedly during Oliver’s trial. The trial judge and an appeals court both ruled that there was no evidence any of the statements Oliver was required to give to the police department for an internal investigation were used against him as a criminal defendant. Now, Texas’ highest criminal court wants to take a look. On Wednesday, the judges took the rare step of granting a review of Oliver’s case. The Court of Criminal Appeals isn’t required to review non-death penalty convictions, like Oliver’s case, and it rarely grants requests to do so.