Atlanta Cops Charged After Using Excessive Force On Two Black Students

Atlanta Protest Held In Response To Police Custody Death Of Minneapolis Man George Floyd

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Fulton County District Attorney Attorney Paul Howard on Tuesday announced charges against six officers who were seen brutalizing and terrorizing two college students during the ongoing national demonstrations, CNN reports.

Prior to the announcement, two of the officers were terminated by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday, while the others were placed on administrative duty.

“As we watch the video today, it became abundantly clear immediately with the young woman that this force was excessive,” Bottoms said in a statement released on Sunday. “It also became abundantly clear that the officer who tased the young man needed to be terminated as well.”

On Saturday, Taniyah Pilgrim, 20 and her boyfriend, Messiah Young, 22, were pulled over by officers during a curfew crackdown in the city which began at 9 p.m. Pilgram is a student at Spelman, while Young attends Morehouse, two respected historically Black colleges located in the city. Prior to the footage, Young, who was driving Pilgrim’s car, had stopped to flag down a friend who was tackled to the ground by police in front of them.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Young said the event escalated into utter “chaos.”

In the disturbing footage, officer’s tase them, while physically dragging them out of the car. The officers also broke Young’s window with a baton. Young suffered a fracture of his wrist and received 24 stitches.  He also said he was punched 10 times in his back.

“I thought both Messiah and I were going to die,” Pilgrim told GMA.

Officers wrote in their police report they thought the two were armed, and can be heard yelling Young had a gun in his possession in the video. However, no weapons were recovered at the scene.

Arrest warrants have been issued for officers Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones and Roland Claud, CNN reports. S

Officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, the two cops who were fired, are charged with aggravated assault, according to Howard. Streeter faces an additional charge of pointing or aiming a gun at Messiah Young.

Howard also charged Officer Lonnie Hood with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery; Officer Willie Sauls with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property; Officer E. Armond Jones with aggravated battery and pointing or aiming a gun; and Officer F. Ronald Claud with criminal damage to property, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

They have until the end of the day on June 5 to surrender, while their bond has been set to $10,000.

Young and Pilgrim appeared at the conference, both solemn but strong in their united front.

“I feel a little safer that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else from this point on,” Young said with a cast on his arm at the press conference on Tuesday. “We just hope there is a change in the police culture.”

Lawyers for the two told Good Morning America they plan to bring forth civil charges.

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