At a time when volatile and emotional protests are popping up all over the country behind a black man dying due to what is widely seen as excessive use of police force, you would think that cops at these protests would exercise caution regarding their own uses of force on black demonstrators. Yet, several documented instances show some officers are not using said caution.
In Atlanta, two officers were fired after their own bodycam footage showed them using their tasers on two HBCU students while they were sitting in their car and then forcefully dragging them out of the car during a protest Saturday.
WSB-TV 2 reports that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the officers’ firing on Sunday.
“Some time during the night, I saw very disturbing video of two young college students who were in downtown Atlanta yesterday evening,” Bottoms said in a press conference. “Our officers are working very long hours are under a very high amount of stress, but the use of force is never acceptable.”
Members of Spelman’s Student Government Association identified the students as Spelman student Taniyah Pilgram and Morehouse graduate Messiah Young. According to the SGA, Young had an epileptic seizure while being detained by police. Both students have reportedly been released from custody.
The two officers who were fired over the incident are Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner. Three other officers were also involved in the altercation and have been placed on desk duty. The officers claim they repeatedly tried to get the students to stop their car before finally pulling them over.
According to Channel 2, the altercation prompted students and officials from the Atlanta University Center to hold a protest at Centennial Olympic Park on Sunday.
“It is clear that the behavior of law enforcement in this country must change,” one official said. “Incidents like the one last night and the many events of police violence, recorded and unrecorded, leading up to today heighten the urgency of this need for change. And we support our students as champions and activists on behalf of change.”