Tuesday’s murder conviction of former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver is a rarity.
Few law enforcers make it to trial, or are convicted for on-duty shooting deaths, research shows. Oliver’s conviction marked the first time since 1973 that an on-duty officer in Texas was convicted of killing someone in a shooting.
“There are unknown unknowns,” Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University in Ohio wrote in a research paper last year. “Police crime is largely a hidden crime (no official data available).”
In Oliver’s case, a Dallas County jury found the former officer guilty of murder in the death of Jordan Edwards, a black 15-year-old who was unarmed when Oliver shot him last year.
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“Extremely rare,” attorney Exavier Pope tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
Stinson’s research shows there are about 1,000 police shootings every year across the country.
And between 2005 and mid-2017, about 35 percent of the officers arrested for fatal on-duty shootings were convicted on manslaughter or murder charges.
The rest were not convicted or their cases are still pending, according to Stinson’s research.
Here’s a look at a few of those cases:
▪ Last year, former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of murder in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man. That verdict sparked violent protests in St. Louis.
▪ In 2014, New York police officer Peter Liang was convicted of official misconduct and manslaughter in the deadly shooting of Akai Gurley. A judge later changed the conviction to criminally negligent homicide and sentenced the former officer to probation and community service.
▪ In 2014, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson was no-billed by a grand jury after fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, a dozen times.
▪ In 2016, Baton Rouge police officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni learned there wasn’t enough evidence to federally prosecute them in the deadly shooting of Alton Sterling, 37, outside a convenience store.
▪ In 2016, a mistrial was declared in the case of North Charleston police officer Michael Slager’s shooting and killing of Walter Scott, 50, who was running away after being stopped for a broken brake light.