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Charges Filed Against Cops After Viral Video Showed Violent Arrests of Black Couple in Atlanta


Warning: the video above is disturbing.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has brought charges against six officers from the Atlanta Police Department after video footage showed them using a Taser on two black students and violently pulling them from their car amid widespread unrest over the killing of George Floyd.

During a Tuesday press conference, Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard announced that two of the officers, Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, both of whom were terminated from the police force Sunday, were being charged with aggravated assault, local news outlet Atlanta in Town reported. Streeter is also facing one charge of pointing or aiming a gun.

Howard also announced that Officer Lonnie Hood was being charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery, Officer Willie Sauls with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property, Officer Armond Jones with aggravated assault and pointing or aiming a gun, and Officer Ronald Claud with criminal damage to property.

“I feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else,” said Messiah Young, 22, who was driving the vehicle while his girlfriend, Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, was in the passenger seat. They were reportedly stuck in traffic and on their way to get food.

Video of the incident went viral Saturday night causing immediate backlash against the officers responsible. In the initial footage, shot by bystanders and news crews, the officers are shown surrounding Young and Pilgrim’s car and smashing the driver’s side window, before tasing them and dragging them out of the vehicle and cuffing them on the ground.

Longer and far more graphic footage of the arrest taken by police body cameras was released Sunday night, further pressuring local authorities to take action. That video can be watched at the top of the story.

Young’s attorney Mawuli Davis said on Monday he believed Young and Pilgrim were targeted after officers saw them using their phones to film the officers’ response to the demonstrations while they were stuck in traffic.

Young, who suffered a broken arm and required several stitches, was initially charged with attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license, but Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she’s ordering any charges against him dropped, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

[image via The Sun screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.