6 Atlanta police officers to be charged after pulling 2 college students from car during protests

George Floyd Protests

In this Saturday, May 30, 2020, photo taken from police 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. The following day, Atlanta’s mayor two police officers were fired and three others placed on desk duty over excessive use of force during the arrest of Young and fellow college student Taniyah Pilgrim, seated in the passenger side of the car. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Six Atlanta police officers have been charged over excessive use of force during a protest arrest incident involving two college students, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced the charges during a news conference.

The Saturday night incident first gained attention from video online and on local news.

Five of the officers are charged with aggravated assault, in addition to other charges.

Two of the officers, Investigator Ivory Streeter and Investigator Mark Gardner, were fired earlier this week.

Bottoms said the woman, Taniyah Pilgrim, was released without charges. She said the man, Messiah 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.

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