Two Atlanta police officers are now suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Police Chief Erika Shields after they were fired following a viral video showing them wrongly using stun guns on two college students whom they forced from their car as they sat in traffic during a large protest in Atlanta.
Both Bottoms and Shields confirmed that after reviewing body camera footage from the May 30th incident, they made the decision to fire investigators Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter and place three others involved on desk duty. On June 2nd, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard decided to bring criminal charges against Gardner and Streeter. Both officers are charged with aggravated assault; Gardner for using a Taser against 20-year-old Taniyah Pilgrim and Streeter for using a Taser against 22-year-old Messiah Young. While the couple was detained, Pilgrim was released the night of the incident with no charges. Young, however, was arrested and charged with eluding police, but Bottoms ordered his charges dropped as well.
In the lawsuit, Gardner and Streeter allege that they were fired without due process and that the other officers who “engaged in substantially similar conduct” were not dismissed. The fired officers are seeking their jobs back as well as back pay and benefits.
Neither Bottoms nor the police department have commented on the lawsuit.
Though initially on board with the charges, Shields is now questioning the timing and appropriateness of the charges against the officers, which come in the midst of protests that are gripping the world in response to the death of George Floyd and police brutality on blacks.