The Atlanta police officers who were fired after using their Tasers on two college students during last summer’s protests downtown were reinstated Monday.
The Civil Service Board ruled that the city “did not follow the personnel regulations of the Atlanta Code of Ordinances in the dismissal” of officers Mark Gardner and Ivory Streeter, who were let go one day after the May 31 incident went viral, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Video of the incident showed officers forcibly extracting Spelman College junior Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, out of the vehicle and onto the pavement, where she was stunned with Tasers repeatedly. The driver, 22-year-old Messiah Young, a senior at Morehouse College, was also stunned with Tasers and arrested.
Police had repeatedly ordered Young to turn around and head out of the city, but thick traffic made compliance difficult. The students were guilty of violating a 9 p.m. curfew and, according to the cops’ lawyer, Lance LoRusso, the officers feared there was a gun inside the vehicle. They would later determine that the students were unarmed.
“Lawful use of force is never going to look good on video,” LoRusso said. “You have to be trained to understand why the officers were doing what they were doing. There was a clear rush to judgement.”