Attorney: College student pulled from car 'stunned' by Atlanta officers' reinstatement

Investigator Mark Gardner and Inv. Ivory Streeter.

The attorney of one of two Atlanta college students pulled from a car in downtown Atlanta during protests over the death of Georgia Floyd says they were "stunned and saddened" to learn that the termination of two officers involved in the arrests had been reversed. 

Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were fired the day after they were seen on live television broadcast pulling a Spelman College student and Morehouse College student from a car in downtown Atlanta on May 30. The incident happened during the second night of protests over the death of George Floyd and the first night Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms implemented an executive order calling for a 9 p.m. citywide curfew.

Streeter and Gardner were working an arresting detail that night to enforce the curfew.

At the time, Bottoms called the video of the arrests "disturbing."

"There clearly was an excessive use of force. We understand that our officers are working very long hours under an enormous amount of stress, but we also understand that the use of excessive force is never acceptable," Bottoms said.

Both Streeter and Gardner were fired during a Zoom call the next day with the mayor, former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, and the city lawyer.

However, on Monday, the City of Atlanta Civil Service Board reversed the terminations, saying it found numerous violations of city policies and ordinances that led to a violation of the two officers' due process rights.

The board found several steps were missing despite COVID-19 protocols being put into place. Among those steps were giving written notice with a "sufficient written description" of the incident and suspension prior to termination to allow for the officers to respond., 

Mawuli Davis, attorney for Morehouse College student Messiah Young, said that the family was "stunned and saddened" to learn through the media of the officers' reinstatement.

Three other officers were assigned to desk duty following the incident. Davis said they learned last week that the criminal charges filed against six officers by former Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard would be turned over to the Georgia Attorney General's Office. Howard was defeated by Fani Willis in November's election.

"In two consecutive weeks, they have experienced the pain of the justice system continuing to fail them as victims of police brutality," Davis said. "The family is grateful for those who continue to organize and protest to change a system that remains unjust where 'Black Lives' are concerned. They will not stop demanding justice for Messiah, Taniyah and all of the victims of police violence."

Lt. Gardner has been on the force for 23 years. Officer Streeter had been on the force for 17 years. Bother were police investigators.

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