A grand jury indicated a former Atlanta Police on murder charges on Wednesday.
Former Officer James Burns is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in the June 22 shooting death of Caine Rogers on Monroe Drive.
Burns was responding to a call about someone possibly breaking into cars at an apartment complex. He initially told investigators Rogers tried to run him over with a car, but an internal affairs investigation found Rogers posed no threat to Burns, and documents from the investigation indicate Burns was outside his patrol car, took cover and shot into Rogers' car without knowing exactly who was inside.
Burns was fired from the Atlanta Police Department, but his attorney says he had to make a "two-second decision" and he is innocent.
Burns' attorney Drew Findley said that nearly 8 hours of testimony, the grand jury returned a true bill on following counts:
- 2 violations of oath of office
- Aggravated assault
- Felony murder
- False statement
The medical examiner and Atlanta Police Chief George Turner were among those who testified before the grand jury.
Rogers' family members and supporters held a 24-hour vigil outside the courthouse where the grand jury hearing was held on Wednesday. Once the grand jury decision was announced, marchers erupted in cheers.
PHOTOS | Caine Rogers March for Justice
“As the parents of Caine Rogers, we are grateful that the Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Officer James Burns," Deravis Thomas and Melva Rogers said in a joint statement. "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.”
Members of the Cochran Law Firm weighed in after the indictment shortly after the decision. The firm is representing the family.
“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," law firm partner Shean Williams said.
Williams then turned attention to the Atlanta Police Department.
"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," Williams said. "As such, the City of Atlanta Police Department is ultimately responsible for the death of Caine Rogers through the actions of Officer Burns.”
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said that eyewitness accounts and dashcam video played a large role in the indictment.
Burns' attorney said that his client was a humanitarian, and looked forward to proving that he was not guilty in court.
PHOTOS | Photos from the scene