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Students who were Tased and pulled from car by Atlanta police sue the city

Excessive Force Atlanta lawsuit
Posted at 8:03 AM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 08:03:50-04

ATLANTA — Two students pulled from their car and hit with stun guns by Atlanta police while they were stuck in traffic caused by protests over George Floyd's death have sued the city.

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday by Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young says police had no justification for the confrontation. It also names nine officers and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as defendants.

Bottoms' office said it had not been served with the suit.

The lawsuit stems from a May 30, 2020 incident in which police confronted Pilgrim and Young as they were stuck in traffic near protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The protests were taking place just days after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Watch bystander video of the incident below. Warning, it contains violent images that may be difficult to watch.

While sitting in traffic during curfew hours, the lawsuit claims that Young began filming an officer confronting someone across the street. The suit alleges officers retaliated by going after him and Pilgrim.

Video from the incident shows officers in riot gear and gas masks surrounding the car. Police fired Tasers at Young and Pilgrim and dragged them out of the vehicle.

Throughout the video, Pilgrim and Young ask officers what they had done wrong.

The lawsuit also claims that police falsely asserted during the incident that Pilgrim or Young had a gun.

"There was no gun. There was no weapon," attorney L. Chris Stewart, who represents Pilgrim, said. "Yet he screamed multiple times from a distance, 'He's got a gun,' which could have gotten these kids killed."

The video of the incident was widely shared on the local news and on social media.

According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit claims Young was punched several times and suffered a laceration on his arm that required 13 stitches.

Six Atlanta police officers are facing charges in connection with the incident. At least two officers who were involved were eventually fired.

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