“Six Atlanta cops charged in excessive force arrest of two students”
June 2, 2020 | 3:06pm | Updated June 2, 2020 | 3:54pm
Six Atlanta police officers were charged Tuesday with using excessive force during the arrest of two college students over the weekend.
Body camera footage shows the officers breaking the windows of a car and yanking the students, Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, and Messiah Young, 22, out Saturday night as they were riding home from protests. Both were tased during the incident.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges against the officers — Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones and Roland Claud — during a news conference.
“I feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else,” said Young, who was dragged from the vehicle along with Pilgrim, his girlfriend, while they were caught in traffic.
Streeter and Gardner were terminated Sunday by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. They are charged with aggravated assault, while Streeter faces an additional charge of pointing or aiming a gun at Young.
The other four cops, who were placed on desk duty, face charges including aggravated assault, simple battery, pointing or aiming a gun and criminal damage to property.
The officers have until the end of the day June 5 to surrender, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“My investigation concluded they were so innocent almost to the point of being naive,” Howard said about the young couple.
The confrontation began after Young got out of his car to film video of police taking his friend into custody. Police can be heard in bodycam footage telling Young to keep driving, even though traffic was heavy, according to AJC.
Messiah Young speaks on his experience after a confrontation with Atlanta police officers, during a press conference by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.
Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Taniyah Pilgrim holds Messiah Young’s bandaged hand.
Police bodycam footage from the scene of the arrest
ATLANTA POLICE DEPT via REUTERS
“You’re about to go to jail!” Streeter yelled. “Where are you going to go now?”
Cops caught up to the vehicle, with one officer smashing the driver’s window with the butt of a rifle, as both Young and Pilgrim, who was in the passenger seat, were yanked out of the car and tased.
“We felt like we were going to die in that car,” Pilgrim, a student at Spelman College, told reporters Monday, AJC reported.
Police initially said Young was reaching for a gun when he was being tased — but none was ever recovered.
Pilgrim was released without charges, according to Bottoms. A police report says Young was charged with attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license but those charges were later dropped.
With Post wires
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