Fulton DA announces charges against six Atlanta police officers in excessive force case

Pilgrim and Young speak at a June 1 press conference. (Courtesy WSB)

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced that six Atlanta Police Department officers will be charged in the excessive force case against two students who were brutally tased and dragged from their car on May 30.

Howard said Officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, who were terminated over the weekend, are each charged with aggravated assault in the case. Streeter faces an additional charge of pointing or aiming a gun at Messiah Young, the 22 -year-old Morehouse student who was driving the car.

In addition, Howard has also charged Officer Lonnie Hood with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of simple battery; Officer Willie Sauls with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property; Officer Armond Jones with aggravated assault and pointing or aiming a gun; and Officer Ronald Claud with criminal damage to property.

Mark Gardner (left) and Ivory Streeter

The incident was caught on video widely circulated on social media that showed officers using excessive force to arrest Young and his girlfriend, Spelman student Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, on International Boulevard near Centennial Olympic Park. Footage from one of the body cameras worn by an officer is available at this link, but be warned it is graphic.

In a June 1 press conference, Young’s attorney, Mawuli Davis, said he believed the couple was targeted because they were filming the George Floyd protests happening around them in Downtown after the curfew, which they didn’t know about.

Pilgrim said Officer Jones threatened to shoot them. “We felt like we were going to die in that car,” she said.

Pilgrim, who was not charged, said she sat for hours in a jail bus and was refused a protective mask to prevent spread of COVID-19 even when she told officers she had asthma. Young’s arm was broken and he required 20 stitches.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is the editor of Atlanta Intown.