Just weeks before residents of Atlanta shut down their own streets over the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in other parts of the country, Deravis Caine Rogers was shot dead by police in their own Georgia city.
He was African American, unarmed, and provided “no provocation” for the shooting, according to police.
His case didn’t attract the attention that other police shootings caught on cellphone videos have. But in a rare development, the officer who fired the gun, James Burns, has already been charged with murder and fired.
It is the first time in six years that a district attorney in Georgia has charged an officer without the officer first appearing before a grand jury for indictment.
“The decision of APD [Atlanta police department] to terminate and of DA Paul Howard to prosecute Officer James Burns for the killing of Caine Rogers does indeed mark an unprecedented shift in how Atlanta and Fulton County hold police accountable for their actions,” said Xochitl Bervera, director of the Racial Justice Action Center, based in Atlanta.