Two Atlanta cops charged with assaulting students sue for reinstatement

Officers believe that they should not have lost their jobs because they were in compliance with the laws and policies of the department

Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner,
Ivory Streeter, left, and Mark Gardner, right (Atlanta Police Department)

Atlanta police officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner filed suit against the Atlanta Police Department to get their jobs back.

The officers were terminated for “excessive use of force” against two college students in late May.

READ MORE: Morehouse, Spelman students are tramautized by Atlanta police encounter

Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim were pulled from their car on May 30 amid protests following the death of George Floyd. The students had their windows broken, and are heard asking what is going on before they were both tased by officers. Young also suffered a fractured arm and multiple contusions.

There were a total of six officers involved in the incident, several of whom are also facing charges. Streeter and Gardner were both fired, while the other officers were placed on administrative leave. The officers had been with APD 16 and 22 years, respectively.

Streeter has been charged with aggravated assault and pointing or aiming a gun or pistol at another person. Gardner is facing an aggravated assault charge.

The fired officers contend that the officer’s use of force was “proper and in compliance with the law, the policies of the Atlanta Police Department, prevailing standards of law enforcement, and the training provided to them through the City of Atlanta Police Department and the State of Georgia.”

The suit names Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for firing them without a proper investigation.

“Petitioners have suffered irreparable injury to their personal and professional reputations as a result of their unlawful dismissal,” the suit states, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

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

The students from Morehouse College and Spelman College believe they were targeted during the incident on May 30 because they were using a cell phone to capture the protests in Atlanta.

“We felt like we were going to die in that car,” Pilgrim told reporters.

A GoFundMe for the students has raised over $150,000. Both students have obtained legal representation, but a lawsuit on their behalf has not yet been filed.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!