*The two police officers who were fired last year for tasing two college students during protests in Atlanta have had their dismissals overturned. Former Atlanta officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were fired in May after video showed them tasing college students Taniya Pilgrim and Messiah Young and aggressively pulling them from the car.
The two victims said they were simply trying to drive away from a chaotic scene after asking police why one of their friends was arrested. Gardner and Streeter appealed their terminations, claiming they acted off information from another officer that there was a gun in the pair’s car. No gun was found in the vehicle.
A review of the case by the City Civil Service Board found that the dismissals violated both Atlanta Police and city policy, according to documents obtained by 11Alive.
“Based upon the serious concerns of insufficient adherence to City code and procedures which culminated into a lack of due process, the Board upholds the Appeal of Ivory Streeter and revokes the City’s dismissal of him from APD employment,” the review from the board said. It reached the same decision in Gardner’s appeal case.
Atlanta officers fired after college students’ tasings have terminations overturned https://t.co/c2quC4tSRx
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) February 2, 2021
Streeter and Gardner were also criminally charged with aggravated assault. That case has been transferred from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to the Georgia Attorney General, according to the report.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a statement about the CSB’s decision. Read it below:
“While the Civil Service Board (CSB) has reversed the termination of the officers, given the unrest across our city and nation at the time, and the disturbing video footage before us, I still believe that the right decision was made. It is also important to note that the CSB did not say that the officers’ conduct was lawful.
This incident, and others, have resulted in changes to our use-of-force policy, including de-escalation training and guidance on when and how to intervene in specific situations. It is my sincere hope that these policy changes and additional training for our officers will help eliminate the potentially life-threatening and deadly encounters that have happened in the past.”
On Tuesday, Mawuli Davis, the attorney for Young and his family, released a statement saying they were “stunned and saddened” that the officers’ terminations were overturned.
“In two consecutive weeks they have experienced the pain of the justice system continuing to fail them as victims of police brutality,” part of the statement reads. “The family is grateful for those who continue to organize and protest to change a system that remains unjust where “Black Lives” are concerned. They will not stop demanding justice for Messiah, Taniyah and all of the victims of police violence.”