ATLANTA, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- A former Atlanta police officer was indicted on charges of murder and violating the oath of office in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.
James Burns was also indicted on charges of making a false statement and aggravated assault in the June death of Deravis Caine Rogers, 22. The grand jury determined there was enough evidence to doubt Burns' claims of self defense. Burns was fired from the Atlanta police department shortly after an internal affairs investigation showed the shooting was not justified.
"He was there during the [grand jury] testimony and he is obviously devastated," Burns' attorney said. "As his attorney, I recognize the tragedy here. I am completely empathetic and two families are suffering right now."
The incident unfolded on June 22 when Burns, working an off-duty shift at Monroe Place apartments, chased a suspicious person, later determined to be Rogers. When Rogers attempted to leave in a Ford Fusion, Burns blocked the vehicle and fired a single shot into the passenger's side window hitting Rogers. Burns told investigators he felt threatened by the vehicle.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said two eyewitnesses and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner testified during the grand jury proceedings, which are not open to the public. Howard said videos from the scene did not corroborate Burns' recollection of events.
"Chief Turner is one of the few police chiefs in this country who appeared at a grand jury to unfortunately testify against one of his own officers," Howard said.