Atlanta cop fired after shooting black man dead in botched car theft investigation
The Atlanta Police Department identified the officer fired for fatally shooting a 22-year-old black man, WXIA-TV reported.
The department determined that James Burns used excessive force when he shot and killed Deravis Rogers last month. Burns was asked to investigate an alleged auto break-in at a local apartment complex when he saw Rogers driving away from him and fired, hitting him in the head. But according to WXIA, there was no indication that Rogers, who was unarmed, had either broken into or stolen any vehicle.
WSB-TV reported that Burns was notified by an off-duty officer working security at the complex.
Officials said Burns’ actions violated policy because there was no indication that he was in any danger at the time. However, they added that race was not a factor in the incident because Burns “had no idea” who he was shooting at.
“The officer simply acted in a way that we cannot support,” said a spokesperson, Sgt. Warren Pickard. “He had no idea who was in the vehicle, he had no idea if that was the vehicle he should be concerned with, he just discharged his weapon.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Burns’ firing took effect on Tuesday. He has not been charged in connection with the shooting, which has prompted criticism from Rogers’ family.
“It’s a murder,” said the victim’s father, Deravis Thomas. It’s a murder and we need justice for that. He needs to be indicted and prosecuted.”
Watch WXIA’s report below.