Atlanta police identify officer fired after deadly shooting

The Atlanta Police Department on Monday released the name of the police officer fired in the wake a June 22 officer-involved shooting where an unarmed, fleeing motorist was killed.

Officer James R. Burns’ termination will take effect Tuesday, nearly three weeks after he shot and killed Deravis Caine Rogers, who was fleeing a northeast Atlanta apartment complex in a silver sedan. Rogers, 22, was suspected of breaking into vehicles, but the APD’s internal review found the officer’s decision to shoot Rogers constituted excessive force.

Burns shot him once in the head and Rogers died hours later at Grady. Burns, who records show joined APD in September 2013 as a cadet, is white and Rogers was black.

“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 last week.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the termination Friday in a story that explored the changing policies of police departments that are discouraging officers from firing into moving vehicles.

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Burns’ records on file with the state police licensing agency do not show any previous disciplinary issues.

Chief George Turner’s decision to fire Burns came after APD’s internal review found the force was “unnecessary and unreasonable,” Pickard said in a release Monday.

“Chief George Turner has always prioritized officer accountability and professional behavior,” Pickard said. “He will continue to take decisive action when necessary to hold his employees to the highest standards.”

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