UPDATED 6/3, 8:25 p.m. ET: On Wednesday, the six Atlanta police officers who were seen in a viral video violently dragging two college students from their car have been booked into jail, WSB-TV Atlanta reports. The incident occurred on Saturday night during a Black Lives Matter demonstration protesting the killing of George Floyd.
All of the cops have since been released on signature bonds, CNN reports.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields called the charges, which were brought by Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard, "political jockeying."
"I am perplexed that when the Atlanta Chief of Police makes a decision within her authority her actions are legitimate, but when I, as the Fulton County District Attorney, make a decision to act under the law to ensure justice based on clear evidence available, these actions are deemed to be ‘political’ all of a sudden," Howard said in response.
See original story below.
Footage of cops Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter dragging two college students from a car and tasing them circulated the internet, and led to the two police officers’ termination. AJC reports that Atlanta Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard is charging Streeter and Gardner with aggravated assault. Streeter faces another charge of pointing or aiming a gun at one of the students, 22-year-old former Morehouse College student Messiah Young.
Officer Lonnie Hood is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery; Officer WIllie Sauls is charged with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property; Officer Armond Jones is charged with aggravated assault and pointing or aiming a gun; and Officer Ronald Claud is charged with criminal damage to property.
During a press conference, Howard said the students, Young and 20-year-old Spelman College student Taniyah Pilgrim were “extremely innocent.”
In fact, Howard said that his “investigation concluded they were so innocent almost to the point of being naive.”
The officers ripped both students from their cars near downtown Atlanta. After being jailed for one night, Young was notified during a preliminary hearing that he was being charged with trying to obstruct officers. However, those charges were dropped, apparently by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Howard said that Pilgrim owns the vehicle that she and Young were driving during the incident. Young was behind the wheel and was trying to invite a classmate inside the car.
The DA said an officer tackled the classmate to the ground, while a second cop told Young to keep driving “or go to jail.”
“The conduct in this incident isn't indicative of the way we treat people in the city of Atlanta and it certainly isn't indicative of how we treat our children,” Howard said.