Former Atlanta police officer indicted on murder
ATLANTA - A former Atlanta police officer accused of murder was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury Wednesday.
The grand jury returned returned a true bill on all 5 counts against James Burns.
On June 22, Burns shot and killed Deravis Caine Rogers, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The shooting happened in the 2100 block of Monroe Drive. Burns was called to the Monroe Place apartment complex to look for a car break-in suspect. The GBI said Rogers posed no threat to Burns when the former officer opened fire on him as he drove out of the complex.
Investigators said Burns shot the 22-year-old in the head. Medics took him to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
Atlanta Police quickly fired Burns not long after he was charged with felony murder.
Burns was released from jail on bond on July 22.
Burns' attorney says the former officer was only trying to defend himself.
“He was out there that day trying to protect another officer and he thought his life was in danger,” said attorney Drew Findling.
Rogers' father called the grand jury's decision a great day for his son and all victims of police shootings.
“This is where we show the rest of the world that we are getting justice in Atlanta,” said Devaris Thomas.
Rogers' parents thanked all those who have supported them the past couple of months.
“Thank you every citizen in Atlanta who has stood by us since June 22 when my son took his last breath on this earth,” said Melva Rogers.
After the indictment was handed down, Rogers' family and supporters marched around the Fulton County courthouse chanting “The people united will never be defeated!”
Deravis Thomas and Melva Rogers, the parents of Deravis Rogers released the following statement following the announcement:
"As the parents of Caine Rogers, we are grateful that the Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Officer James Burns. We would like to thank the Fulton County District Attorney's Office for its hard work, and also the community for all of its love and support as we continue on this journey towards justice for Caine. We are very pleased with this outcome and though nothing can bring our son back, we know this is a powerful first step."
The Rogers' family earlier announced they were suing Burns, the city of Atlanta and Police Chief George Turner. Lawyers for the family claimed there is a system-wide culture with the department that fosters excessive force among officers. Those lawyers also called Burns a "ticking time bomb."
SEE RELATED: Wrongful death lawsuit against former Atlanta police officer
Shean Williams, with the Cochran Firm who is representing the family released the following:
“The indictment of Officer James Burns for causing the death of Caine Rogers is further evidence that the shooting and killing of Caine Rogers was unjustified and in violation of his civil rights. This indictment is also proof that the City of Atlanta Police Department failed to provide adequate training and discipline to Officer Burns, allowing him to remain on the force despite having numerous prior excessive force complaints. As such, the City of Atlanta Police Department is ultimately responsible for the death of Caine Rogers through the actions of Officer Burns."