ATLANTA — Two Atlanta police officers were fired after a viral video showed them using excessive force in the arrest of two college students during protests Saturday night.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the officers’ termination on Sunday.
Police said they tried to stop a car repeatedly during Saturday night’s protests before it finally pulled over.
Video of moments after showed officers Tase the two students as they sat in their vehicle and then forcefully drag them out of the car.
Bottoms said in a news conference Sunday night that it clearly was an excessive use of force.
“Some time during the night, I saw very disturbing video of two young college students who were in downtown Atlanta yesterday evening,” Bottoms said. “Our officers are working very long hours are under a very high amount of stress, but the use of force is never acceptable.”
Bottoms said a total of five officers were involved in the incident, but after a review of the footage, two officers were fired and the other three have been placed on desk duty.
The officers who were fired have been identified as Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner, who were both members of APD’s fugitive unit.
Earlier Sunday, the presidents of the colleges that make up the Atlanta University Center asked for an investigation into the arrests.
"While we understand the need to maintain order, the abusive behavior reported to us is completely unacceptable," AUC officials said.
Officials with Spelman’s Student Government Association identified the students as Taniyah Pilgram, who attends Spelman, and Messiah Young, a recent graduate of Morehouse.
Both students have since been released from custody. The Spelman SGA said Young had an epileptic seizure while in custody.
On Sunday, students and officials from the AUC gathered at Centennial Olympic Park to protest law enforcement’s treatment of African Americans.
“It is clear that the behavior of law enforcement in this country must change,” officials 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.”
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