2 more Atlanta police officers fired for use of excessive force on college students

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department has fired two more Atlanta police officers accused of using excessive force on two college students.

A viral video on social media and body camera footage showed officers use Tasers on Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim while they sat in their car on May 30. The officers then forcefully dragged them out of the car and arrested them.

The city fired officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter the next day.

[READ: Leaked email: APD chief blindsided by officer charges, agencies end support in Atlanta]

Channel 2 Action News confirmed with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the department fired officers Lonnie Hood and Armond Jones Wednesday afternoon. The Atlanta Police Department also confirmed the officers were fired and the investigation remains open.

Jones had been with the department for two years. Hood was a 29 year APD veteran.

Vince Champion, the southeast regional director of the police union, said they got word about the firings yesterday and he was shocked.

“This is happening so fast. No due process and, our opinion, this all appears to be political on both sides from the mayor to the district attorney,” Champion said. “It tears down moral and it also lets them know that three of the top officials who should have law enforcement’s back do not. And they’re going to sacrifice men and women in law enforcement for their political gains, their own personal gains or whatever the reasoning is.”

[READ: Attorney says DA rushed to charge officers involved in Tasing of college students]

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged six officers on June 2. The police union previously said it plans on fighting the charges.

  • Ivory Streeter: Aggravated assault on Pilgrim (used taser); pointing or aiming gun on Young
  • Mark Gardner: Aggravated assault on Pilgrim (used taser)
  • Lonnie Hood: Aggravated assault on Young (used taser); aggravated assault and simple battery on Pilgrim (used taser)
  • Willie Sauls: Aggravated assault on Pilgrim (pointed taser); criminal damage to property (car)
  • Armon Jones: Aggravated battery of Young (forcefully thrown unto paved street); pointing or aiming a gun at Young
  • Roland Claud: Criminal damage to property (car)

APD has not said why it took longer to make these firings than the first two. The department also will not comment on whether it plans to take action against the remaining two officers who still have their jobs, but are on administrative leave.

The attorneys for the college students said they are pleased with the firings. They told Channel 2′s Christian Jennings that it’s encouraging that the mayor is making every effort to right a wrong.

[READ: “We felt like we were going to die” Students Tased by Atlanta police speak for first time]

When the charges were announced, Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr took a look at records available through the state and the Atlanta Police Department.

In March and April, Hood completed de-escalation training. Last year, his Taser recertification was completed.

It had been about a year since Jones completed his training. He was the freshest officer in the bunch, going from cadet to officer in October 2018.

[READ: APD officer charged in Tasing of students also tied to death of man shot 76 times by police]