Target: Atlanta Grand Jury
Goal: Praise decision to indict former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man.
A grand jury recently ruled to hold former police officer James Burns accountable for his actions and charge him with felony murder. This is an unusual move in Atlanta, where not a single fatal police shooting went to trial between 2010 and 2015, and is therefore a huge step in the right direction. It is also a huge victory because a white police officer is answering for the unwarranted death of an unarmed and innocent black man.
Police Officer James Burns responded to a call of a suspicious person in June. The dispatch call mentioned that the suspect was on foot, but did not include details about what suspicious activity this person was accused of. When Burns arrived, he saw a car driving away from the apartment complex. He shot at the car and killed the driver, 22-year-old Deravis Caine Rogers. Burns claimed that he was afraid for his life because the car was driving at him, but investigations revealed that Burns was safe and shielded by his patrol car, and that the driver of the car was shot through the passenger side window and was not in fact driving at Burns.
Burns was dismissed as an officer, and in addition to the indictment for murder, the grand jury also charged him with aggravated assault, making a false statement, and violation of oath of office. None of this changes the tragic murder of Caine Rogers, but the law giving him the justice he deserves is a victory worth celebrating. Sign below to applaud Atlanta’s grand jury for upholding justice.
Dear Atlanta Office of the Jury,
The decision to indict James Burns for the murder of Caine Rogers, who was unarmed and guilty of nothing but driving away from an apartment complex, is a victory for citizens who count on the law to uphold justice. There are far too many instances of police officers not being held accountable for the killing of innocent citizens, especially when those citizens are black. I would like to sincerely thank you for doing what is right, and ensuring that this former officer answers for his actions.
The issue of police brutality, especially in regard to race, is one of national prominence and importance. The vigils held outside the courthouse leading up to the Burns hearing illustrate that–citizens asked for justice for Rogers, indictment for Burns, and acknowledgement of the fact that black lives matter. It is incredibly heartening to see their pleas answered. I would like to thank you again for upholding the law and showing Caine Rogers the respect he deserves.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ganeshk