Civil litigation moves full steam ahead against APD officers who charged students

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) — Two young adults are filing a civil lawsuit after two police officers tasered them on live television during a protest in Atlanta in 2020.

Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young spoke out a day after charges against investigators Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter were dropped.

“In the same way that I was afraid almost two years ago, I am terrified now – especially knowing that the people who have caused so much trauma and harm to me and the Messiah can be set free,” said Pilgrim.

Pilgrim’s attorney said the two students were trying to get home after a protest at Centennial Olympic Park in 2020. CBS46 video and police body camera showed officers smashing a car window, shooting the two of the vehicle and tamping them.

The GBI investigated the incident. The dismissals of Gardner and Streeter were reversed.

The Cherokee Judicial Circuit DA said evidence showed the officers’ use of force was the result of resistance from Young and Pilgrim.

“It was something that got me there,” Young said. “We never wanted to be in this situation. Every action taken that night was escalated by the Atlanta police.

Young was punched several times, broke his arm, and received approximately 25 stitches from a head wound.

Lawyers for Pilgrim and Young called it a brutal attack.

“Their civil rights have been violated,” said Mawuli Davis, representing Young. “It’s not over. This whole damn system is guilty as hell.

Davis said he plans to pursue the civil lawsuits originally filed in June 2021 and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

He also said the city of Atlanta should hold the officers accountable.

“Our business card is civil rights and human rights. Our calling card is to treat people with humanity and justice,” he said.

Pilgrim’s rep Justin Miller said video of the incident would be key to winning their case.

“The video shows you that the force the officers used was not sympathetic to what was going on that night,” Miller said.

Gardner and Streeter’s attorney said the officers were exonerated and cooperated fully with the investigation.

Young and Pilgrim plan to fight for justice outside the courtroom.

“There has to be change. I’m going to do everything I can for victims across America and for myself so this doesn’t continue to happen,” Young said.

“We will continue to use our voices to make sure things like this don’t get swept under the rug,” Pilgrim said.

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