Episode 18: Jordan Edwards Dies at the Hands of Police

May 3rd 2017

Sarah Gray

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On Saturday, Jordan Edwards was shot by police in Balch Springs, Texas, a suburb outside of Dallas. On Monday, the police department released a statement on what happened — the account has changed since the initial report from Sunday, the New York Times reported.

The latest release explains that officers were allegedly responding to a chaotic house party where there were sounds of gunfire; a car, where the 15-year-old was a passenger, had been backing down the street and did not stop following an officer's verbal command. The car then pulled forward and continued down the main road ignoring the officer's command to stop. The officer, then, allegedly shot at the moving car striking Edwards, whose death has been ruled a homicide. The officer has since been fired and no weapons were retrieved at the scene.


The freshman at Mesquite High School was the 105th black person to be killed by the police in 2017, according to Mapping Police Violence. The conversation surrounding Edwards' tragic death — beyond sparking renewed calls to address police brutality, training, and bias — also brings up victim blaming. Edwards was a well-liked, football player with a 3.5 GPA. He's been described as an honor student. Regardless, of his academic status, Edwards did not deserve to die at the hands of the police. Yet, our language surrounding victims of tragedies — whether it's describing Michael Brown as "no angel," or digging into the past of the doctor pulled off the United Airlines flight — is problematic.

"We’ve heard excuses before in the past: You know why it happens, because the dads aren’t present. That excuse isn’t here. Or the kid was violent. That excuse isn’t present here," the Edwards family's lawyer told the Dallas Morning News. ATTN:'s staff writer Danielle DeCourcey has an excellent piece coming up diving into this issue.

And she, along with Mike Vainisi, Kyle Jaeger, and Mike Rothschild, gives us a brief preview on that topic — along with the NFL, ICE's new VOICE hotline, and Fyre Festival — on this week's "Got Your Attention."

Podcast notes:

Read more about the stories we did (and didn't) talk about this week on "Got Your Attention."

  • A historically black university in Florida invited a controversial person from the Trump administration (Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos) to speak at commencement.
  • People have been prank calling an ICE hotline to protest the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies. ATTN:'s Kyle Jaeger got an interesting comment from the agency, calling it "beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse" to prank call the agency about space aliens.
  • In a Bloomberg interview this weekend, Trump said he’d "be honored" to meet with Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances."
  • Samantha Bee made a “joke” she made about Rikers Island that criminal justice advocates found distasteful.
  • Fox News forced out its co-president Bill Shine this week.
  • The surprising reason people over 65, the majority of whom like the single-payer health care program Medicare, oppose a single-payer health care system.
  • The NFL Draft was this weekend. But does football have a future? The sport's ratings are down, as is participation in youth and high school football.
  • Ja Rule is getting sued over the Fyre Festival, and this is the best lede I've ever read from CNN's Lisa Respers France: "When it comes to Ja Rule and his Fyre Festival, 'It's Murda' for the rapper."
  • The one thing that’s missing from Canada’s national marijuana legalization plan: No means of reducing/expunging sentences for people previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses.
  • Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who has been in the House since 1986, announced she’s not running for another term. What could happen in 2018?
  • Intermittent fasting every other day actually works a new study suggests, according to CNN.
  • Fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot and killed after police opened fire on a car of unarmed teenagers.

What is the "Got Your Attention" podcast?

If you've ever wondered how the staff pitch and select the stories that you read or watch on ATTN:, we're giving you an inside listen. ATTN: Media is excited to announce "Got Your Attention," a podcast where ATTN: staffers compete to have their pitches accepted by our host — while also unpacking some of the week's most important headlines.

The game is simple: Three ATTN: staff members — Staff Writer Kyle Jaeger, Staff Writer Mike Rothschild, and Staff Writer Danielle DeCourcey — pitch their best stories to our host and Head of Editorial Mike Vainisi. If Mike picks their story, they get a point, and the four discuss the story.