Atlanta officers won’t face charges from 2020 arrest of 2 college students: NPR

Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young speak to the press at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Prosecutors have filed charges against six officers involved in the couple’s arrest.

John Bazemore/AP


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John Bazemore/AP


Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young speak to the press at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Prosecutors have filed charges against six officers involved in the couple’s arrest.

John Bazemore/AP

An Atlanta district attorney has dropped charges against six police officers accused of assaulting and aggravated assault on two college students after running past curfew following a 2020 George Floyd protest, a announced Monday the DA.

Video footage shows officers on foot confronting two young black adults, Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young, who at the time were students at Spelman College and Morehouse College, respectively. The couple had passed officers in a car 45 minutes after the city’s 9 p.m. curfew.

After appearing to briefly walk away from the officers, Pilgrim and Young stop – at which point the officers swarm the vehicle. Stun guns are used on the two occupants, who are pulled from the car as Pilgrim yells at them to stop.

“I agree with the mayor [Keisha Lance] Bottoms and I agree with our Chief of Police, Erika Shields, when they both conveyed in so many different ways that the conduct in this incident – it’s not indicative of how we treat people in the city of Atlanta,” Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Paul Howard told reporters at the time.

Pilgrim was never charged; Young was accused of trying to evade officers before the charge was dismissed at the request of Bottoms, who apologized.

Officers charged in connection with the incident were Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones and Roland Claud. Streeter and Gardner were released from the force, while the other three were placed on desk duty.

But Samir Patel, the acting district attorney for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, dropped the charges against the officers, arguing that the officers’ use of force was “a direct result of resisting and disobeying officers by Mr. Young and Mrs. Pilgrim. instructions.”

Patel said the officers were acting within the Atlanta Police Department’s use of force policy and that force stopped after Pilgrim and Young were subdued by stun guns.

“The video that was widely shared in the media in the days following May 30, 2020 was not an accurate depiction of the entire encounter between Mr. Young, Ms. Pilgrim and law enforcement,” a- he declared.

He continued, “I wholeheartedly believe that Georgia has made significant progress in improving the way our communities and the police work together and we must continue on this positive path, always guided by the rule of law. “.

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