6 Atlanta officers charged after students pulled from car

National

ATLANTA (AP) — Six Atlanta police officers have been charged after a dramatic video showed authorities pulling two young people from a car during protests over the death of George Floyd, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges 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 Messiah Young, who was dragged from the vehicle along with his girlfriend, Taniyah Pilgrim, while they were caught in traffic.

The Saturday night incident first gained attention from video online and on local news. Throughout, the couple can be heard screaming and asking officers what is happening.

Two of the officers, Investigator Ivory Streeter and Investigator Mark Gardner, were fired Sunday.

Streeter and Gardner are both charged with aggravated assault. Two others are also charged with aggravated assault, while one is charged with aggravated battery. Some of the officers are also charged with criminal damage to property as well as pointing or aiming a gun.

  • This undated photo distributed by the Atlanta Police Department shows police Investigator Mark Gardner, who was fired Sunday over accusations he used excessive force during the arrest of two college students during protests in Atlanta. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
  • This undated photo distributed by the Atlanta Police Department shows police Investigator Ivory Streeter, who was fired Sunday over accusations he used excessive force during the arrest of two college students during protests in Atlanta. Streeter and another police officer have been fired and three others placed on desk duty over excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident involving two college students. May 31, 2020. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
  • In body camera video released by the Atlanta Police Department, an officer points his handgun at Messiah Young while the college student is seated in his vehicle, in Atlanta.  (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
  • In body camera video released by the Atlanta Police Department, an officer points his handgun at Messiah Young while the college student is seated in his vehicle, in Atlanta. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)
  • Taniyah Pilgrim holds Messiah Young's bandaged hand as he speaks during a news conference on the campus of Morehouse College. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
  • Taniyah Pilgrim speaks as Messiah Young's looks on during a news conference on the campus of Morehouse College. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Pilgrim was released without charges. She said Young, was released, too, and she’s ordering the charges against him dropped. She didn’t specify what charges he faced. A police report says Young was charged with attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license.

Dramatic body camera video that police released Sunday night shows police taking another young man into custody in a downtown street alongside a line of stopped cars. The man is pleading with police to let him go, saying he didn’t do anything.

Young, sitting in the driver’s seat of a car stopped in the street holds up his phone, appearing to shoot video as an officer approaches and pulls the driver’s side door open. Young pulls the door shut and says repeatedly, “I’m not dying today.” He urges the officers to release the other man and let him get in the car as the dark sedan advances a bit.

The car gets stuck in traffic and officers run up to both sides of the car shouting orders. An officer uses a stun gun on Pilgrim as she’s trying to get out of the car and then officers pull her from the vehicle.

Another officer yells at Young to put the car in park and open the window. An officer repeatedly hits the driver’s side window with a baton, and another officer finally manages to break it.

As the glass shatters, an officer uses a stun gun on Young and officers pull him from the car as officers shout, “Get your hand out of your pockets,” and, “He got a gun. He got a gun. He got a gun.” Once he’s out of the car and on the ground, officers zip tie Young’s hands behind his back and lead him away.

Police reports do not list a gun as having been recovered.

“I’m so happy that they’re being held accountable for their actions,” Pilgrim said at a news conference.

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