Balch Springs, Texas, Cop James Young Caught Tasing Handcuffed Black Man Was Field Training Officer for Jordan Edwards’ Killer

Sgt. James Young tasing Marco Stephenson in the side (KDFW-TV screenshot)

Sgt. James Young—the Balch Springs, Texas, police officer responsible for training Roy Oliver, the officer who killed 15-year-old Jordan Edward—has been identified as the officer in newly released dashcam footage tasing Marco Stephenson, a black man handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

Attorney Lee Merritt, legal counsel for Jordan’s family, confirmed to The Root that Young was Oliver’s field training officer. Merritt acquired this disturbing, but not surprising, information from a former BSPD officer who asked to remain anonymous.


“Sgt. James Young destroys the bad apple myth. As the field training officer for Roy Oliver, Young passed on a culture of brutality by example,” Merritt said. “It’s Training Day in living color.

“The tasing incident wasn’t Young’s first demerit,” Merritt continued. “Like Oliver, he violated departmental policy and shot rounds into a moving vehicle of a shoplifting suspect. Should we be surprised when inferior officers mimic the behaviors of their supervisors?”

As previously reported on The Root, KDFW-TV obtained the leaked bodycam footage of Young assaulting Stephenson, which is from April 28, 2016. Stephenson was carrying a BB gun, which Young called threatening. As Stephenson tried to explain that he was an adult with the right to carry a BB gun, Young tased him multiple times for no reason at all.


As Stephenson screamed in shock and pain, Young could be heard saying, “Don’t pull away, don’t pull away ... I ain’t playin’ with you today.”


Watch the video below.

Trigger warning: police brutality, state violence, white supremacist violence.

Earlier, Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber would not name Young, identifying him only as a supervisor.


Haber said that the people who turned in the video were justified in doing so: “At the end of the day, they did the right thing. They brought it to our attention.”

Still, Haber also did his best to criminalize Stephenson in a transparent attempt to shift the blame away from his officers. He voiced more concern with the timing of the leak than Young’s violent actions.


Haber is the same man who was forced to retract his initial statement that the car in which Jordan was traveling with his brothers on April 29 was “backing down the street toward officers in an aggressive manner.”

Haber initially claimed that this prompted Oliver to open fire with a rifle, fatally shooting Jordan in the head.


Haber later claimed that he “misspoke”—the police term for “lie.”

Still, with the revelation that Young trained Oliver, the culture of white supremacist violence within the Balch Springs Police Department is evident.


Again, the system is not broken; it is working exactly as intended. But it needs to be smashed and destroyed.

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Kirsten West Savali

Mother. Wife. Writer. Journalist. Bubber's Daughter.