Ex-police officer charged with murder after shooting African American man in US

Washington: A former US police officer has been charged with the murder of an unarmed African-American man, officials said.

James Burns turned himself in to the Fulton county jail in US's Georgia state on Saturday, CNN reported.

Burns responded to a call from an off-duty officer of suspicious activity at an apartment complex on 22 June. Burns and two other officers saw Devaris Caine Rogers attempt to leave in a vehicle, said a statement from the district attorney's office.

Protesters held rallies in several US cities to protest police shootings of African-Americans. AP

Protesters held rallies in several US cities to protest police shootings of African-Americans. AP

Burns, who is white, blocked Rogers' path and fired one shot into the passenger side of his vehicle, striking Rogers in the head and killing him, CNN reported, citing the statement. "At the time of the shooting, Burns was not provided with any facts describing Rogers as a threat to the officer or the public. Neither was Rogers identified as the man the off-duty officer had previously reported," the statement said.

Rogers had not tried to strike the officer with the vehicle, the district attorney's office said.

Burns was charged with felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of violation of oath by a police officer.

Burns' lawyer, Drew Findling, told Atlanta-based WSB News on Saturday that he would aggressively investigate the case. "We recognise this is a tragedy," Findling said, adding, "That being said, I defend officer Burns and I think that warrant was issued prematurely."

Tensions prevailed across the US earlier this month over the police shooting of two African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

The situation went out of control when people took to the streets in Dallas to protest the killings, and a sniper attack killed five policemen. The policemen were killed by a lone gunmen, Micah Johnson, as he was upset about the fatal police shootings of the two African-American men.

Updated Date: Jul 17, 2016 14:00 PM

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