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6 Atlanta cops charged with excessive force after tasing, dragging 2 victims from their car

A police officer takes a protester to the gound to arrest her after she threw tear gas back at police during the third day of protests over the death of George Floyd on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)
June 02, 2020

Six police officers in Atlanta, Ga. have been charged with excessive force after video surfaced of the officers dragging two college students out of a vehicle and using a stun gun on them on Saturday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced during a press conference on Tuesday that arrest warrants were issued for officers Lonnie Hood, Roland Claud, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones, Willie Sauls and Ivory Streeter. The officers have until Friday, June 5 to turn themselves in.

The officers face charges such as aggravated assault, simple battery, and illegally pointing a taser, as well as criminal damage to property when the officers used batons to break the victims’ car windows.

Victims Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgram had stopped their car to film video of the officers during an encounter with a different individual. The officers attempted to force open the victims’ car door, and began using a baton to break the window.

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Watch bodycam footage of the incident below:

Four of the officers repeatedly deployed stun guns on victims Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgram while dragging them out of the car.

“The conduct involved in this incident is not indicative of the way that we treat people in the City of Atlanta,” Howard said a press conference announcing the charges.

Young sustained a broken wrist and a large gash requiring 24 stitches. He said he was punched in the back at least 10 times.

“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 at the press conference on Tuesday. “We just hope there is a change in the police culture.”

After the incident surfaced, Gardner and Streeter were fired, and the other four officers were moved to desk duty.

“I know that we caused further fear to you in a space that’s already so fearful for so many African-Americans, and I am genuinely sorry,” Atlanta Police Department Chief Erika Shields said in the news conference. “This is not who we are. This is not what we’re about.”

The officers are allowed to post a $10,000 signature bond as the local jails attempt to limit the incarcerated population amid the coronavirus pandemic.