The mayor of Atlanta fired two city police officers over the weekend who forcibly removed two black college students from their car, tased and arrested them without explanation on May 30. Four other officers also involved in the incident have been charged with assorted counts of aggravated assault and battery, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and several national media outlets reported Tuesday.
Taniyah Pilgrim, a 20-year-old Spelman College student, and Messiah Young, 22, who attends Morehouse College, were stuck in traffic in the city on the second night of public unrest over the death of George Floyd after the city’s newly instated 9 p.m. curfew, when officers shattered Young’s car windows and aggressively took both students into custody, according to news reports. Young, who spent that night in jail, fractured his arm in the incident, needed 20 stitches and also suffered an epileptic seizure, an Instagram statement from the Spelman College Student Government Association said.
Pilgrim, who was held in a police vehicle for several hours, said one of the officers told her that he “was going to shoot us,” the Journal-Constitution reported. The charges against both students were dropped, NPR reported.
“This isn’t just about me — this is about an entire generation that has to deal with injustice,” Young said during a press conference at the Morehouse campus on June 1.
The incident was captured on video, televised nationally and prompted a response from both President Mary Campbell of Spelman and President David Thomas of Morehouse. The college presidents said during Monday’s press conference they were outraged by the officers’ actions, FOX 5 News Atlanta reported.
“We will not accept the kind of behavior on the part of law enforcement that they had to accept,” Campbell said. “I am sorry on your behalf that two fine, young students had to suffer in the way that you did.”