Police Officer James Burns Arrested For Allegedly Murdering Unarmed Black Man

Joshua Broom

Former Atlanta Police Officer James Burns has been fired and formally charged with murder in the June 22 shooting death of unarmed Devaris Rogers. Leading up to the fatal event, Burns had been summoned to a nearby apartment complex by an off-duty metro Atlanta officer, citing suspicious activity.

This is how the tragic event unfolded, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

"'Upon arrival, Burns attempted to block the path of a 2011 silver Ford Fusion that was leaving the scene,' a statement from the Fulton County District Attorney's office explained. Despite the fact the Ford Fusion made no attempt to strike the officer and Burns was safely standing at the rear of his own patrol vehicle, Burns pulled his service weapon and fired one shot into the passenger side of Rogers' vehicle. The victim was struck in the head."

According to online records from the county Sheriff's Office, Burns surrendered himself to the Fulton County Jail without incident Saturday night. James Burns had been an officer with the Atlanta Police Department since 2013, however, when an internal affairs investigation concluded Burns had used excessive force, he was promptly fired July 1.

The deadly shooting was investigated by the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. All concluded former Officer Burns had acted unjustly.

"By reason of the evidence presented by several eyewitnesses, videos and findings of the Atlanta Police Department, we will proceed in this case in the same manner as any other defendant similarly charged -- arrest, indictment and resolution."

Findling told WSB-TV, "We recognize this is a tragedy. That being said, I defend officer Burns and I think that warrant was issued prematurely." LoRusso simply stated, "We are conducting our own investigation into the facts of this incident."

Meanwhile, Thomas Rogers, father of slain 22-year-old Devaris, had these poignant comments for 11Alive News concerning his son.

"'He was young, he had dreams and aspirations. He had dreams and goals. I was proud of him, and I am still proud of him,' said Thomas Rogers, the father of Deravis Caine Rogers."

"He was so excited. He laughed and I told him I was proud of him." Rogers' father said.

Thomas Rogers' Lawyer, Linda Watkins, stated she is pleased her client's son was cleared of any wrongdoing by Police investigations, but then concluded it was only a first step.

Watkins called for further justice on Devaris Rogers' behalf, exclaiming "The officer (James Burns) needs to be prosecuted. He needs to go to prison."

Both Sterling and Castile's deaths were recorded by witnesses and then released to the public. The graphic nature of these videos set in motion several raucous protests, including the shooting deaths of five Dallas area police officers.

Rogers' family plans to file a civil suit against both James Burns and the Atlanta Police Department concerning the wrongful death of their son.

Former officer James Burns' case will be brought before a grand jury for indictment in August, according to District Attorney Paul Howard.

[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]