A former Atlanta police officer facing felony murder and other charges in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed black man turned himself in to the Fulton County jail on Saturday, jail spokesman Tracy Flanagan said.
James R. Burns shot and killed motorist Deravis Caine Rogers outside a northeast Atlanta apartment complex June 22, officials said. Burns was fired July 1 after an internal affairs investigation determined that he used excessive force.
No bond has been set, Flanagan said.
The former officer faces charges of felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and violation of his oath of office. The warrant, which was issued Friday by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, was unusual for an officer-involved shooting because prosecutors typically wait until a grand jury meets to weigh the evidence.
Howard said he made this move because of evidence from witnesses and other sources.
The charges come as communities across the country are reeling after the release of videos showing the shooting deaths of black men at the hands of police. Protesters have marched in Atlanta and other cities demanding more accountability for officers.
Burns told Atlanta police investigators that Rogers tried to run him over, but investigators rejected his account
Rogers, 22, was shot at the Monroe Place apartments after an off-duty officer reported a suspicious person, investigators said. When Burns arrived at the scene, he saw a 2011 silver Ford Fusion turn on its lights and start to drive away. Rogers was behind the wheel.
Burns tried to block the Ford with his patrol vehicle, but Rogers maneuvered around it, investigators said.
That’s when Burns jumped from his vehicle, yelled “stop,” and shot through the Ford’s passenger side window. Rogers was hit in lower right side of his head and pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.
An internal investigation found that officers on the scene, including Burns, didn’t know if Rogers was the suspect they were seeking. An agency spokesman recently told the AJC that there is no evidence of actual car break-ins in the complex or any evidence linking Rogers to criminal activity that night.