APD: 2 more officers fired for arrest of college students pulled from car
ATLANTA - The Atlanta Police Department has fired two more officers who were accused of using excessive force in the arrest of two college students during protests over the death of George Floyd.
Wednesday, a spokesperson for the APD said that Sergeant Lonnie Hood and Officer Armon Jones were terminated due to their involvement in the May 30 incident, which involved a Spelman College Student and a Morehouse College student.
A body-camera video released by police shows a group of officers shouting orders, smashing the driver’s side window, deploying stun guns and pulling Taniyah Pilgrim and her boyfriend Messiah Young from the sedan. Throughout, the couple can be heard screaming and asking officers what is happening.
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Young suffered a fractured arm and required 20 stitches. He said the arrest was “one of the hardest things that I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The two were out getting something to eat Saturday night when they got snarled in traffic along Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, their lawyers said. A friend of theirs, another Morehouse student, was standing in the street talking to them while they were stopped when police began to take him into custody, Young’s lawyer Mawuli Davis said.
The day after the incident, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference she and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields decided to immediately fire two of the officers involved, Investigator Ivory Streeter and Investigator Mark Gardner, and placed three others on desk duty pending an investigation.
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“Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters. Shields called the footage “really shocking to watch.”
A week ago, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said arrest warrants had been issued for all six officers involved in the incident. Five of the officers are charged with aggravated assault, in addition to other charges.
Hood has been charged with aggravated assault against both Young and Pilgrim for using a Taser against both of them, an arrest warrant says. He is also charged with simple battery for violently pulling Pilgrim from the car and throwing her down on to the street, a warrant says.
Jones is charged with aggravated battery for hurting Young’s left arm when he dragged him from the car and slammed him onto the street, a warrant says. He’s also charged with pointing a gun at Young.
In a statement, the attorneys for Young and Philgrim said that they are "are pleased" with the firings of Hood and Jones.
"It is encouraging that Mayor Lance-Bottoms is making every effort to right a wrong that was obvious to all when watching the officers' body cameras," the lawyers told FOX 5 in a statement. "We can't continue to allow members of law enforcement to recklessly abuse the citizens they are sworn to protect."