2 Atlanta police officers were fired and 3 were placed on desk duty for their use of force in arresting 2 college students during a Saturday night protest

insider@insider.com (Connor Perrett)

Investigators Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter were terminated by the Atlanta Police Department for their use of force at a protest Saturday.

Atlanta Police Department

  • Two Atlanta police officers were fired Sunday for their conduct at a protest Saturday, the city's mayor and police chief said. 
  • Three other officers have been placed on desk duty while their conduct is under review, she said. 
  • Investigators Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who were both members of the department's fugitive unit, were terminated from the police force, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department told Insider.
  • Investigators Carlos Smith and Willie Sauls, and Sergeant Lonnie Hood, were placed on administrative duty, the spokesperson said.
  • Video captured by a local news station showed officers smash a car window and Tase the couple that was inside.
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Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, announced Sunday that two Atlanta police officers were fired after she and the city police chief determined they used "excessive force" while making an arrest during a protest on Saturday.

"After review of that footage, Chief Shields and I have made the determination that two of the officers involved in the incident last night will be terminated immediately," Lance Bottoms said at a press conference. "The other three officers are, right now, on desk duty pending further determination of what, if any, appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against them."

Investigators Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who were both members of the department's fugitive unit, were terminated from the police force, a spokesperson for the APD told Insider. Streeter worked with Atlanta Police since 2003 and Gardner since 1997.

Investigators Carlos Smith and Willie Sauls, and Sergeant Lonnie Hood, have been placed on administrative duty, an APD spokesperson told Insider.

Local news station CBS 46 recorded the arrests that occurred at about 9 p.m. on Saturday. A couple, identified as 22-year-old Messiah Young and 20-year-old Teniyah Pilgrim, was leaving a protest at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park in their vehicle at the time of their arrest.

According to police reports, the situation escalated when Young, who was driving the vehicle, didn't follow officers' requests to move the car from blocking traffic.

Video showed officers smashing the driver's window, opening the passenger door, taking both Young and Pilgrim, and removing them from their vehicle, CBS 46 reported.

Young is a graduate of Morehouse College and Pilgrim is enrolled at Spelman College, according to WSB.

Pilgrim was detained but released at the scene without charges, according to CBS 46. Young was taken to a local hospital and released Sunday. While Young was charged with fleeing the scene and driving with an expired license, the charges were dropped, according to the report.

"We have been handed an enormous obstacle and have, by and large, done it as well as we could in the space that we're being afforded," Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. "It's an unpleasant space to be in but that does not relieve us of our responsibilities. And we have a responsibility, when we handle any incident, to not escalate the incident and not cause further harm or injury."

There have been protests — and sometimes violent demonstrations — in cities across the US over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody on May 25. Video of the Memorial Day altercation shows police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes while he tells officers he can't breathe.

Chauvin and three other officers involved were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. Chauvin was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, though the other officers have not faced charges.

A protest outside CNN's Atlanta headquarters, which houses a police precinct, turned violent on Friday when some protesters threw objects the building's entrance and defaced the company's logo.

"This is not a protest," Bottoms told protesters Friday. "This is chaos. A protest has purpose."

"If you love our city, go home," she added.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a statewide state of emergency due to the ongoing protests on Saturday.

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