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Black Students Pulled From Car by Atlanta Police During George Floyd Protests Sue the City

Students Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young filed a federal lawsuit Thursday accusing police of assault and false arrest.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young | Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
By Malaika Jabali · June 17, 2021

A federal lawsuit filed by two HBCU students Taniyah Pilgrim, 21, and Messiah Young, 23, alleges that Atlanta police are guilty of assault and false arrest after violently pulling them from their car amid George Floyd protests last year. The lawsuit also says that one officer dangerously escalated the confrontation by falsely claiming the pair had a gun, the AP reports.

Viral footage of the pair show police officers swarming a vehicle the two were in, hitting them with stun guns and forcibly removing them from the car.

The suit names the city, nine officers, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as defendants. The mayor’s office said it had not been served with the lawsuit and could not comment.

As the AP reports, the two students “were heading home on May 30 during a curfew declared hours earlier by Bottoms when an officer instructed Young…to leave the area, according to the suit. Young — unaware of the curfew — moved forward a few yards to comply with the officer but was again stuck in traffic, the suit says.”

According to Young’s attorneys, he was punched repeatedly and suffered a deep laceration to his arm that required 13 stitches.