2 Atlanta investigators fired in ‘excessive force’ arrests

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ATLANTA (WSAV) — Atlanta’s mayor says two city police investigators have been fired and three officers are on desk duty following an arrest Saturday involving two college students.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the police used excessive force while arresting Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, students at Morehouse College and Spelman College respectively.

The investigators, identified as Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, were part of the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) Fugitive Unit. On Saturday, they were assisting with civil disturbances in the city when the incident involving Young and Pilgrim occurred.

Gardner served APD for 22 years and Streeter had been with the department since 2003.

Video of the incident, that first gained attention online and on local news, shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surrounding a car being driven by the students. The officers pulled Pilgrim out of the vehicle and appeared to use a stun gun on the vehicle’s occupants.

The two students did not appear to be fighting the police. Bottoms said Pilgrim was released without charges. She also said she was ordering the charges against Young be dropped.

The mayor said she and APD Chief Erika Shields made the decision to fire the officers after reviewing body-camera footage.

“Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters Sunday. Shields called the footage “really shocking to watch” and apologized to the students.

Saturday night, more than 150 people were arrested for various violations during the protest, according to the mayor.

Shields praised other officers, many who are having knives and rocks thrown at them. One is in intensive care following a collision with an ATV.

The city remains under a curfew from 9 p.m. until Monday morning. Bottoms said it may be extended.


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