Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the two officers were terminated from their jobs at the APD during a press conference held on Sunday. Three other cops were also disciplined.
“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, on desk duty pending further determination of what, if any, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against them.”
WSB-Atlanta reported that Bottoms was upset by the “disturbing” video that showed police officers lashing out against the couple.
She acknowledged that while the authorities might be working very long hours under stressful conditions, “the use of force is never acceptable.”
The article states that the two cops involved were Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, former members of the Fugitives Unit.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields also issued a statement at the conference. She commended her officers for the work they have done throughout the protesting, but also warned against escalating tensions.
“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.”
On social media, dozens of users praised Bottoms for taking action against the cops. Many also stated that the men should be arrested and formally charged for acting out so violently.
On Saturday night, two college students — Teniyah Pilgrim, 20, and Messiah Young, 22 — were in their car, leaving a protest against police brutality when the altercation began.
CBS46 captured footage that reportedly showed the cops breaking the driver’s side window, tasing both Young and Pilgrim, and then dragging them out of the vehicle.
The couple was allegedly arrested for staying out past curfew. Young was taken to a nearby hospital and brought up on charges, but these charges were later dropped. Pilgrim was detained but eventually released without facing charges.
Spellman College, which Pilgrim attends, and Morehouse College, which Young attends, both issued statements on their respective Twitter accounts. Both schools stood in solidarity with their students.
The Atlanta mayor’s press conference comes on the heels of a statement she made yesterday, the statement disavowing the riots while claiming the violent protesters were “disgracing” George Floyd’s memory.
“This is not a protest. A protest has purpose…If you love this city…where more than 50% of the business owners in metro Atlanta are minority business owners. If you care about this city, then go home," Mayor @KeishaBottoms said at a press conference to address #protests. pic.twitter.com/tDDPLy0dcn
— AJC (@ajc) May 30, 2020