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Texas jury finds white, ex-police officer guilty of murdering black teen

Tuesday August 28, 2018

FILE PHOTO: A combination photo shows Roy Oliver in Parker County Sheriff's Office booking photos in Weatherford, Texas, U.S. on May 5, 2017. Courtesy Parker County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas jury on Tuesday found a white, former policeman guilty of murder for fatally shooting a black teenager in a car moving away from him in a 2017 case in a Dallas suburb that fueled a national debate over possible racial bias in U.S. policing.

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The police officer, Roy Oliver, 38, was fired by the Balch Springs Police Department for violating department policy a few days after he fatally shot Jordan Edwards, 15, a standout high school student and athlete. Edwards was struck in the head in the April 2017 shooting.

The conviction was a rare instance where an officer was found guilty of murdering an unarmed person.

Oliver, along with another officer, had responded to reports of underage drinking at a house party in the predominantly black and Hispanic city of Balch Springs, about 15 miles (25 km) southeast of Dallas. He fired his rifle several times into a car with several other teens inside as it drove away from him and his partner, prosecutors said.

The trial started in mid-August and jurors deliberated for about 12 hours over two days before reaching its verdict.

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