The former Atlanta police officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed Black motorist in Midtown last month is now behind bars at the Fulton County Jail.
Officer James Burns turned himself in to authorities at the jail Saturday morning, where he was booked and processed into the system, Atlanta’s 11 Alive reports. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard issued a warrant for the officer’s arrest on Friday.
Burns faces charges of felony murder and aggravated assault for the June 22 shooting death of Atlanta man Deravis Caine Rogers, 22.
The ex-officer arrived at the Monroe Place apartments that evening following reports of a suspicious person breaking into cars in the area. According to authorities, Burns spotted Rogers getting into a car and driving away from the scene as he arrived at Monroe Place. The officer tried to block Rogers from exiting the area with his patrol car, investigators say, but the Atlanta man maneuvered around it; that’s when Burns exited his vehicle and fired a single shot into the passenger side window, killing Rogers.
In his initial statement, Burns told authorities he feared for his life as Rogers attempted to run him over with his vehicle. However, an investigation by the district attorney’s office found that Rogers made no such attempt and that the officer was standing safely behind his patrol car at the time of the shooting.
Burns was terminated on July 1 after authorities said he violated the department’s policy by firing his gun without knowing who was in the vehicle or if Rogers was even a suspect. An APD Internal Affairs investigation also found the officer’s decision to shoot Rogers constituted excessive force, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. An agency spokesman recently informed the publication that there was no evidence of actual car break-ins at the Monroe Place complex or any evidence linking Rogers to criminal activity that evening.
“My office has investigated this matter jointly with the GBI since its occurrence on June 22, 2016,” District Attorney Paul Howard said. “But it is because of the decisive leadership of Atlanta Police Chief George Turner and the work of GBI Director Vernon Keenan, that the district attorney’s office is prepared to reach evidentiary conclusions in this case involving a police shooting at this early stage of the proceedings.”
According to Fulton County Jail spokesman Judy Flanagan, no bond has been set for Burns.
The former officer will have his first court appearance on Monday.
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