Atlanta police officer fired for wrongful shooting death of ‘fleeing’ suspect


ATLANTA — The family of Deravis Caine Rogers is relieved and pleasantly surprised that the rookie Atlanta police officer who shot and killed their son, an unarmed black man, without proper justification after an alleged break-in at an apartment complex has been quickly terminated by the Atlanta Police Department.

But the family’s satisfaction is stunted significantly because the officer has yet to be charged with a felony crime for what they deem is murder.

Rogers’ aunt Ella Scott  reacted to news of the officer’s termination Monday afternoon, according to the AJC:  “Our family is still in shock from one, finding out he was shot in the head by a police officer.  No communication from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta Police Department, and then to find out ultimately he had been fired.  I feel like they are ultimately not dragging  their feet but maybe doing the right thing by my nephew.”

Shockingly, the shooting and the decision to fire Officer James R. Burns has been mostly overshadowed by the tumult breaking out in major cities across the country the past week regarding more high profile police shooting deaths of black men in Baton Rouge, La., and suburban Minneapolis. There have been five consecutive days of contentious protests in Atlanta alone, but others are taking place daily in Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia, to name a few.

Burns was fired on July 1 after it determined that he has less than probable cause to shoot Rogers in the head on June 22 just because he suspected of breaking into cars, as he tried to drive away from a northeast Atlanta apartment complex. Burns’ superiors ruled that Burns was not in imminent personal danger of being ran down nor injured. Additionally, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation discourages shooting into running vehicles.

The internal investigation stated James violated APD policy, adding that force has to be “reasonable and necessary” to shoot into a fleeing vehicle.

“The force used was ruled excessive because there was no obvious threat made toward the officer,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard, an APD spokesman told the AJC.

The case is also under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard’s office.

Meanwhile, the family of the slain unarmed black man awaits to see if these investigative bodies will charge Burns with Rogers’ unnecessary shooting death.

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