ATLANTA - The Fulton County district attorney dropped murder charges against a former Atlanta police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man.
Former Officer James Burns fatally shot Caine Rogers two years ago in Midtown.
Burns was fired from the force as a result of the shooting.
“It’s painful. It’s painful,” Deravis Thomas said.
Thomas is distraught over the district attorney’s decision to drop the murder charges.
“I was expecting a lot more out of this. I was expecting we would be in trial,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ expectations were dashed when District Attorney Paul Howard announced last week that a recent ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals regarding statements made by police officers in a grand jury proceeding changed everything. Court documents Channel 2 Action News obtained outlined his decision to no longer prosecute.
"A badge and gun is not a murder permit," Thomas said.
Channel 2's Nefertiti Jaquez reached out to Howard who released the following statement:
"We are not dropping our commitment to fully prosecute the case against Burns."
Jaquez also spoke with the Burns' defense attorney who said he believes in his client's innocence, releasing the following statement:
"The indictment was deeply constitutionally flawed."
The victim’s attorney said Burns won’t win because the proof will prevail.
“This is no time for James Burns to be celebrating,” said Rogers' family lawyer, Mecca Anderson.
The shooting happened at the Monroe Place Apartments after Burns responded to a backup call of a man running away after possibly breaking into cars.
An internal APD investigation revealed Burns admitted to investigators that he shot into the car, not knowing if the driver was the suspected car thief he was looking for.
Burns fired through a passenger side window but told investigators he did it because the suspect tried to run him over.
Evidence including dashcam video contradicts his claims.
"This is totally in the hands of the D.A.’s office. They will be remedying this situation. That is our understanding, and we will hold them to that," Anderson said.
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