An Atlanta police officer is being held accountable for his hasty actions that resulted in the death of another unarmed Black man.
Former officer James Burns was indicted on multiple charges including felony murder, aggravated assault and making a false statement in connection with the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Deravis Caine Rogers in June. Burns was responding to a call from an off-duty officer about a suspicious person at an Atlanta apartment complex. When he arrived on the scene, he encountered a silver Ford Fusion. Burns immediately attempted to block the Ford Fusion from leaving the complex and then fired into the vehicle when it continued to drive past him.
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Although Rogers was later revealed as the driver of the Ford Fusion following the shooting, it was confirmed that Burns had no reason to suspect that Rogers matched the description of the suspicious person in question. Investigators also concluded that at no point did Rogers pose a threat to Burns, despite Burns providing investigators with a false statement claiming Rogers’ attempt to run him over with the vehicle, prompting him to fire the fatal shot that struck Rogers in the head.
According to NBC News reports, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner terminated Burns on July 1 following a detailed internal investigation that determined he used “unnecessary and excessive force” in the killing of Rogers. The case is one of many examples of the discriminatory U.S. policing practices that continue to unjustly claim the lives of African-Americans across the country.