Atlanta, GA (WGCL) — Two Atlanta police officers who tased and pulled two Atlanta University Center students from a car on Saturday night have been terminated.
Three other officers were placed on desk duty pending further investigation. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made the announcement during a press conference on Sunday.
“After review of that footage, Chief Shields and I have made the determination that two of the officers involved in the incident last night will be terminated immediately. The other three officers are, right now, are on desk duty pending further determination of what, if any, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against them,” the mayor said.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields also spoke at the press conference, echoing the mayor’s comments. Shields started by commending the Atlanta Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on the job they’ve done thus far, acknowledging the challenges they’ve faced.
“We have been handed an enormous obstacle and have by and large, done it as well as we could in the space that we’re being afforded,” Shields said. “It’s an unpleasant space to be in but that does not relieve us of our responsibilities. And we have a responsibility, when we handle any incident, to not escalate the incident and not cause further harm or injury,” she said.
CBS46 cameras were rolling as Messiah Young, 22, and Teniyah Pilgrim, 20, were taken into custody after 9 p.m. Saturday night. Young is a student at Morehouse College, and Pilgrim attends Spelman College.
The couple was leaving the protest at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park in their car at the time. The video shows police smashing the driver’s side window, opening the passenger side door, and tasing the couple before pulling them from the vehicle. It is unclear what led to the arrests.
Pilgrim was detained and later released at the scene without charges. Young was taken to Grady hospital and released Sunday morning. He was initially charged with fleeing the scene and driving with an expired license, but those charges were later dropped.
Morehouse College released this statement on Sunday: “Morehouse College respects and supports the right of peaceful protest, and we expect that our students will be protected as they exercise that right. While we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, we echo the call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”