Officer charged with murder makes first court appearance

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[WSBTV] A fired Atlanta police officer charged with murdering a man went before a judge for the first time Monday.

 Former Officer James Burns is charged with killing 22-year-old Caine Rogers.

Channel 2 Action News spoke to the young man’s father, Thomas Rogers, after the hearing. He says the district attorney did the right thing by charging Burns with murder.
“With so much going on in the country right now, with so many police shootings like this and it seems statistically that it goes under the radar and it’s never prosecuted and officers have a free hand to do this, there is no punishment. And to see Paul Howard do that, that was big,” Rogers said.
Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez obtained documents outlining the Atlanta Police Department’s internal affairs investigation into the deadly police shooting last month.
The 68-page report reveals new information that does not support the officer’s story.
According to the documents, Burns admitted to investigators that he shot into the car not knowing if the driver was the suspected car thief he was looking for when he was called out to this apartment complex.
Burns, who joined the force three years ago, fired through a passenger-side window but told investigators he did it because the suspect tried to run him over.
The officer told them: “I remember being shocked that he was, uh, driving at me. That he was trying you know, he was trying to kill me.”
Evidence, including dash cam video, contradicts his claims.  That was enough for the district attorney to charge the officer with murder. Burns’ lawyer said the DA was too quick to press charges and he is now conducting his own investigation.
 “There are families grieving right now on both sides; a young man lost his life and my client’s family is grieving as well,” said defense attorney Drew Fingling.
While the former officer’s family was also at the hearing, they made it clear they didn’t want to talk to media. Burns himself had nothing to say to us over the weekend the day he turned himself in.  APD fired Burns two weeks after the shooting. Burns will remain in the Fulton County Jail until his next court hearing on Aug. 1, when he’ll ask for bail.

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