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2 more Atlanta police officers fired over use of force during protest

The firings bring the total number of officers terminated in the wake of the incident to four. Six officers in all have been charged.
Image: Still frame from Atlanta Police Department bodycam video footage of police officer Ivory Streeter, shows car driver Messiah Young being shot by a taser, during ongoing protests against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Atl
Still frame from Atlanta Police Department bodycam video footage of police officer Ivory Streeter, shows car driver Messiah Young being shot by a taser, during ongoing protests in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 30, 2020.Atlanta Police Department / Reuters

Two more Atlanta police officers accused of excessive force against two college students during protests in the city late last month have been fired, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

Sgt. Lonnie Hood and Officer Armon Jones were fired Wednesday, Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said in an email, bringing the total number of police officers fired so far to four.

Six police officers, including the four who have been fired, have been criminally charged for force, including a stun gun, used against Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim during protests May 30.

"The investigation into the incident remains open," Atlanta police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said in an email.

Hood is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and is accused of using a Taser stun gun against Young and Pilgrim, and he is charged with simple battery and accused of pulling Pilgrim out of the car, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said June 2.

Jones is charged with aggravated battery and accused of pulling Young from the car, and he is also charged with pointing a gun at Young, Howard said.

The incident was captured on body camera video.

Armon Jones.Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced on May 31 that two officers, Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, would be immediately fired after what she called "an excessive use of force."

Streeter and Gardner have sued in an effort to get their jobs back. The court document alleges that they were denied due process in being fired, among other claims.

Video showed officers forcibly pulling the college students from their car around 9:40 p.m. May 30 during protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Pilgrim is heard in video asking officers what is going on and crying that she is trying to get out before a stun gun appears to be used against her. Young, who also had a stun gun used on him, was yanked from the car and suffered a fractured arm, Howard has said.

Pilgrim, the owner of the car, was handcuffed with zip-ties but was not charged, and Young was charged but the charges were dismissed at the order of the mayor.

Streeter is charged with using a Taser stun gun against Pilgrim and is accused of pointing a handgun at Young. Gardner is charged with aggravated assault and accused of using a Taser stun gun against Pilgrim.

Lonnie HoodFulton County Sheriff's Office

The two other officers charged are Willie Sauls and Roland Claud. Sauls is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a Taser stun gun at Pilgrim and is accused of allegedly striking the driver's side window of Pilgrim's 2017 Mazda with a baton.

The suit seeking the reinstatement of Streeter and Gardner says that "their use of force was proper and in compliance with the law, the policies of the Atlanta Police Department, prevailing standards of law enforcement, and the training provided to them through the City of Atlanta Police Department and the State of Georgia."

Young is a student at Morehouse College and Pilgrim is a student at Spelman College.

Pilgrim said last week that "we felt like we were going to die in that car," according to video from NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta. "This has probably been one of the hardest things that I've ever experienced," Young said.