Charged with battery and aiming a gun at a college student during the recent George Floyd protests, two more Atlanta police officers were fired Wednesday. Two other officers were terminated the day following the incident, as two more remain on administrative leave while also facing criminal charges.
On May 30, college students Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young were leaving a demonstration near downtown Atlanta when they saw a classmate in police custody who was screaming in agony. As Young began to record the incident on his cellphone, officers approached the car and threatened to arrest him if he did not stop recording and continue driving.
Recorded on police body cam video, several officers surrounded the car before smashing the windows and shooting the students with Tasers. At least two of the cops aimed their guns at Young as he was pulled from the car and violently thrown to the ground, while at least three of the officers fired their Tasers at the students.
On May 31, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that two of the officers involved in the incident had been fired. Officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were terminated after officials reviewed the body cam footage.
On June 2, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that Sgt. Lonnie Hood had been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery along with officers Armond Jones for aggravated battery and pointing or aiming a gun, Roland Claud with criminal damage to property for smashing a car window, and Willie Sauls with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property. Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were both charged with aggravated assault, while Streeter faces an additional charge of pointing or aiming a gun at Young.
Although the Atlanta Police Department confirmed that Hood and Jones were terminated on Wednesday, officials did not explain why they were not fired earlier along with Gardner and Streeter. Police officials also refused to disclose whether there are plans to terminate the remaining two criminally charged officers, Claud and Sauls, who remain on administrative leave.