UPDATE: The Atlanta cop who was fired this month for shooting and killing an innocent man, then claiming the man was trying to run him over, has been charged with murder and aggravated assault.
According to WXIA:
The Fulton County District Attorney confirmed on Friday that the former officer involved in the deadly shooting of an unarmed man in midtown will be taken into custody on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
On June 22, now former Officer James Burns shot and killed Devaris Caine Rogers on Monroe Place in Atlanta.
Upon arrival, Burns attempted to block the path of a the vehicle driven by Rogers that was leaving the scene.
The district attorney’s office said that despite the fact that the vehicle made no attempt to strike Burns and the fact that he was standing safely at the rear of his own patrol car, he fired into the passenger window of the passing car killing Rogers.
As of late Friday, it was unclear whether Burns would be taken into custody or allowed to turn himself in.
Atlanta police officer James R. Burns gave the usual spiel about fearing for his life when he shot and killed a suspected burglar in his car last month, claiming the man was driving directly towards him, trying to run him over.
But then it was discovered that Burns shot Deravis Caine Rogers through the passenger side window as he was driving past him.
And then it was discovered Rogers was not even the suspected burglar to the call to which he was responding.
As a result, Burns has been fired.
But will he be charged for murder?
That remains to be seen, but the Georgia Bureau of Investigation says that is still a possibility.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Burns, who joined the force in 2013, fired through the passenger side window, but told investigators that he shot because he feared for his life as he answered the call on the night of June 22.
“I didn’t know to block that particular car,” Burns told investigators in an interview one week after the shooting, his attorney by his side. “I shot at the car who was trying to run me over and kill me.”
But Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner and his investigators roundly rejected Burns’ version of events. An Atlanta police spokesman said evidence, including a pair of dashcam videos, contradict the officer’s claims.
“The evidence in the file does not support his version of what happened,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard.
On the night of June 22, Burns responded to an apartment complex in northeast Atlanta to assist an off-duty cop with a report of a man breaking into a car, who was said to have fled on foot.
When Burns arrived at the apartment complex, he spotted a car parked on the wrong side of the road that began pulling away from the curb, which made him suspicious.
As the car drove towards him, Burns turned on his emergency lights and chirped his siren to try and get it to stop.
But Rogers continued driving past Burns’ patrol car, which angered Burns, prompting him to jump out of his car, slam his door and yell for Rogers to stop.
He claimed he was blinded by Rogers’ headlights, adding to his fear, sensing the car was about to strike him dead, which is when he pulled out his gun.
But he fired only once, striking Rogers in the head through the passenger window, indicating he was not as blinded as he claimed.
The shooting was not captured on a dash cam but another officer’s dash cam recorded the aftermath, capturing Burns stepping from behind his patrol car into the street where Rogers’ car had just passed.
The following day, Atlanta police gave a press conference, providing the media with Burns’ version of the events.
A 22-year-old Atlanta man accused of trying to break into cars tried to drive away, but was shot and killed by an officer, police said Thursday.
Late Wednesday, an off-duty Atlanta police officer was patrolling the parking lot of a Monroe Drive apartment complex when he spotted a man suspected of breaking into cars, Officer Kim Jones said. The off-duty officer, whose name was not released, called for an additional officers and ran after the suspect, but was unable to catch him, police said.
Deravis Caine Rogers was able to run from the officer and got into a silver car as on-duty officers arrived at the scene, police said. Officers attempted to stop Rogers, but he continued driving, Maj. Adam Lee said.
One of the on-duty officers shot at Rogers, hitting him in the head. Rogers drove a short distance before crashing into an SUV parked at the Cirque Daiquiri Bar and Grill. He was taken by ambulance to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died, police said.
But because of all the controversial police shootings sweeping the nation in recent years, the Atlanta Police Department announced in January that all police shootings would now be investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is the state investigative agency.
So that may have played a factor in the department’s internal affairs division to not attempt the usual coverup that are common with internal affairs divisions throughout the country.
In fact, he was fired on July 1, just over a week after the shooting, proving that these investigations do not have to be dragged out for months as commonly seen.
“You did not have reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle engaged in, or was about to engage in, criminal activity,” Atlanta Police Chief George Turner stated in a memo that informed Burns he was being fired.
“Yet rather than allow the driver to drive past you, you exited your vehicle and ultimately prevented the driver from driving away through the use of deadly force.”