ATLANTA — A grand jury on indicted a white former Atlanta police officer on Wednesday, charging him for murder and other counts for shooting into a moving car because he wrongly believed the black man was breaking into cars at an apartment complex.
The Fulton County grand jury in downtown Atlanta charged ex-cop James Burns on felony murder, aggravated assault, making a false statement and two counts of violation of oath of office after taking the life of Deravis Caine Rogers, 22, on June 22, according to defense attorney Drew Findling.
Burns remains out on bond until the trial.
Burns was coming to assist another officer at an apartment complex after the call of a suspicious person. Burns fired into Rogers’ vehicle, a 2011 silver Ford Fusion as it was driving away, despite the fact that Burns was not in imminent personal danger and could not identify Rogers as the person in question. In fact, Burns was standing behind this vehicle when he discharged his firearm into the car and striking the victim in the head.
After an internal investigation by the police department determined that Burns’ actions were “unnecessary” and “excessive,” the Atlanta police Chief George Turner fired Burns on July 1.
Rogers’ mother Melva Rogers last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Burns, Turner and the city. Burns violated Rogers’ civil rights by using excessive and deadly force and failing to grant him due process, the lawsuit says.
Community groups organized a 24-hour demonstration that started Tuesday evening outside the Fulton County courthouse to call for an indictment.
Photos: Fulton County Sheriffs Department; Rogers Facebook page