Atlanta cops who assaulted Spelman and Morehouse students fired, put on desk duty

Messiah Young, 22, and Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, were pulled out of their car on live television after a 9 p.m. curfew was put into place in Atlanta.

(Credit: CBS 46/screenshot)

The Atlanta cops who tased and pulled Spelman and Morehouse students out of their car on live television have been fired and others put on desk duty.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Sunday that the video of the officers using “excessive force” against Messiah Young, 22, and Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, kept her up all night. The altercation took place after a 9 p.m. curfew was instituted by the mayor in response to the ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality. Police stopped and surrounded the car the students were in at approximately 9:13 pm Saturday evening.

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

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In footage that was captured live by CBS 46, the car windows were broken and officers began an aggressive posture toward the HBCU students. They were assaulted, arrested, and taken into custody at the Fulton County Jail. He was charged with eluding/flee police and driving without a license.

A GoFundMe was set up for their bail money by Samaiya Butler. It has thus far raised almost $100K and the funds will be going to Young’s family. The Georgia NAACP and the JUSTGeorgia Coalition also immediately organized to help. They used the  #WeAreDoneDying to call attention to the fact that this state of emergency was jeopardizing more lives.

“This uprising has been a result of the inabilities of elected officials to ensure proper judgment necessary to arrest, indict, and convict officers who repeatedly murder innocent, unarmed Black bodies,” they stated in a press release Sunday.

“As if the global pandemic was not enough harm on the Black and Brown community, we now have to endure the pain and hurt from the grim displays of modern lynching going viral every week,” the release continued.

Lance Bottoms responded to the outrage by announcing during a Sunday news conference that two of the officers involved in the incident had been fired. One had a tenure of 20 years on the force and the other 16. Three others who were involved have been taken off street duty pending review.

The officers have not yet been identified.

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“After a review of that footage, Chief Shields and I made the determination that two of the officers involved in the incident last night will be terminated immediately. The other three officers right now are on desk duty pending further determination of what, if any appropriate action, disciplinary actions should be taken against them,” the mayor said.

“The release of that bodycam footage and the corresponding police report should be available to the media immediately.”

The students have since been released from police custody. All charges were dropped against her but they may be pending against him according to the Georgia NAACP. It was also confirmed that they did not suffer any injuries.

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