Students tased by officers in 2020 incident to file civil suit against city

ATLANTA — Two college students tasered and pulled out of a car during protests in downtown Atlanta say they will not give up their fight for justice.

It comes after a special prosecutor exonerated the six officers under investigation in the case.

The students told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that they believe the special prosecutor in this case got it wrong. Now they’re filing a civil suit.

They say no matter what, they want the officers involved held responsible.

“There was definitely unnecessary force used. The entire situation did not need to escalate to (the) point that it did,” said student Messiah Young.

Two years later, Young and Taniyah Pilgrim were still visibly upset as they talked about the case.

“It’s very scary and very sad that we’re still going through this two years later,” Pilgrim said.

A special prosecutor dismissed various charges of excessive force against several Atlanta police officers seen pulling Young and Pilgrim out of a car.

“The people who caused so much trauma and harm to me and Messiah are able to walk free,” Pilgrim said.


Police released body camera video from the incident in 2020. Young and Pilgrim were driving near the George Floyd protests in downtown Atlanta.

The officers told officials they were trying to get the driver, Young, to move his car and not impede traffic.

The special prosecutor assigned to the case, Samir Patel, told Channel 2 Action News that Young moved the car a short distance and then he accelerated with an officer leaning into his window.

“Officers made repeated attempts to obtain compliance, they refused, and these officers used the force they deemed necessary and reasonable,” Patel said.

Seconds later an officer tased Young and several police officers pulled both Young and Pilgrim out of the car.

All six officers were charged, some with felonies. Now, all six are cleared of any wrongdoing.

“We believe their civil rights were violated and we have sufficient evidence that they were,” said attorney Mawuli Davis.

Next, the attorneys for the students plan to take the case to civil court.

“We’re here to make sure business does not continue as usual, that we keep pushing forward for civil rights, especially for these young people,” attorney Justin Miller said.

The attorneys did not disclose what they are seeking monetarily with the civil case. They said what’s most important is that APD and the city of Atlanta take responsibility for what happened.