An Atlanta cop who killed an unarmed black man last month had no idea who was inside the car he shot into, an internal affairs investigation found.
After weeks of investigation, The Atlanta Police Department’s internal affairs investigation into the fatal shooting of Deravis Caine Rogers could not find the alleged crime that led Officer Burns to open fire, Killing Deravis Caine Rogers, neither could they find proof of a threat to officer Burns’ safety.
This incident started when a security guard thought he saw someone breaking into cars at the Monroe Place apartments. Officer Burns responded and when he saw a car driving away, fired. But according to an internal investigation, there’s no proof a single car window was broken or vehicle robbed.
APD Spokesperson Sgt. Warren Pickard said department policy does not allow an officer to fire into a vehicle unless the suspect is coming toward them or the car itself is being used as a weapon. Pickard further stated that Rogers did not have a gun and in this case he was driving away.
“If a vehicle is used as a weapon and you have no other means, it might present a situation where that type of force can be used. But this was not that type of situation.”
Officer James R. Burns admitted to the investigation that he shot into a vehicle not knowing if the person driving , Caine Rogers, was a suspect.
Victim Deravis Caine Rogers (l) with his father Deravis Thomas Rogers:” They murdered my son”. Wants to see justice done
On his own admission, the 3-year force veteran did not know if the occupant of a car he saw in an apartment complex while responding to a call about a suspected car break-in, was the suspect. He fired anyway as the car drove away from, not towards him, according to the report released Wednesday.
“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,” said Sgt. Warren Pickard of the Atlanta Police Department.
“The officer simply acted in a way that we cannot support.”
Georgia’s Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting for any possible criminal violation.
Deravis Thomas, Rogers, the victim’s father said “It’s a murder,” “It’s a murder and we need justice for that. He needs to be indicted and prosecuted,”
Burns was called to an apartment complex in northeast Atlanta on June 22 after an off-duty cop reported a suspicious person allegedly breaking into cars in the parking lot,
As the cop pulled into the parking lot, he spotted a car driving away from the lot. He put on his cruisers’ lights and sirens, and parked in a position to stop the exiting driver. According to Burns, But the sedan, drove past Burns’ squad car. That’s when the officer got out of his car, yelled for the driver to stop and opened fire, the investigation showed.
Rogers, who was shot in the head, died at the scene.
Burns admitted he didn’t know who was inside the car when he opened fire, but insisted he pulled his weapon because the car was racing toward him and he feared for his life.
“I shot at the car who was trying to run me over and kill me,” he told investigators days after the shooting.
The police investigators, according to the report, found no evidence supporting Burns’ claims, instead it proved that Rogers was trying to drive away from the cop, not toward him. Pickard said evidence, including dash cam videos, showed there was no obvious threat to Burns.
“You did not have reasonable suspicion that the driver of the vehicle engaged in, or was about to engage in, criminal activity,” Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner wrote in a memo. “Yet rather than allow the driver to drive past you, you exited your vehicle and ultimately prevented the driver from driving away through the use of deadly force.”
Burns was fired on July 1 for using excessive force. Possible criminal charges could come after the state investigation.