ATLANTA (CBS46)--Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. announced his office is filing charges against six Atlanta Police officers who were involved in the tasing and arrests of two local college students.
Howard called the tasing incident a “vicious attack” in a press conference Tuesday morning where he announced new findings in the investigation into the officers.
The students who were arrested, Spelman College student Taniyah Pilgrim and Morehouse College student Messiah Young, attended the press conference with their parents inside the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.
With a broken arm, a broken wrist and 24 stitches, an injured Young stood alongside Pilgrim, both expressing relief that the officers are being charged.
“I feel a small satisfaction for what has happened,” Young said. “I feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else from this point on,” Young added.
“It was nothing that could have been done to prevent something like that. It was just ridiculous, and I am glad they are being held accountable,” Pilgrim stated.
Howard says Young revealed that after an officer led him behind State Farm Arena during the arrest, an officer punched him more than ten times in the back. Young was taken to Grady Hospital and then to jail where he remained overnight.
This week, Atlanta officers Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner were fired for the incident. Tuesday, Howard announced six officers would face charges. Streeter is charged with aggravated assault for tasing Pilgrim. He is also charged with pointing a gun at Young.
Gardner is charged with aggravating assault for tasing Pilgrim. Officer Lonnie Hood is charged with aggravated assault for using a taser on Young, aggravated assault for using a taser on Pilgrim and simple battery for pulling Pilgrim out of her car and on to the pavement.
The Atlanta University Center college couple said they were out trying to get food Saturday night when they got caught in protest traffic. They had tried to help a friend who was being apprehended by asking him to get in their car.
“You can actually hear police say to Mr. Young, go or go to jail,” Howard explained.
An attorney for the Young and Pilgrim said the students did not attend the protest and were not aware of the 9pm curfew that officers were enforcing.
Officer Armond Jones faces and aggravated battery charge for forcefully throwing Young on the pavement. Jones is also charged with pointing a gun at Young.
Officer Willie Sauls faces an aggravated assault charge for pointing a taser at Pilgrim and a property damage charge for damaging Pilgrim’s car.
Roland Claud is charged with criminal property damage for damaging Pilgrim's car.
"We reviewed seven different body cam videos and also looked at one media clip," Howard said referring to the front facing video of the incident that aired live on CBS46 Saturday night during coverage of local protests. "That [video] was very instrumental in moving forward with our charging decisions so we thank you all for that," Howard told CBS46's Hayley Mason in the press conference.
The officers reported that the students may have had a gun, but Howard according to the videos, there was no mention of a gun during the incident.
"After the incident when the officers were walking away and returning to their original stations on the tape you can hear one of the officers say 'they pulled a gun on us,'" Howard explained.
No gun was ever located on the students or in the car.
The officers have until the end of the day Friday to turn themselves in to police. They could face up to 5 to 8 years in jail.