ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — The City of Atlanta fired police officers who tased college students Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young during protests on May 30, 2020. Over one year later, Pilgrim and Young are still looking for closure. “There’s no reason that the events that took place that night should have transpired the way they did,” said Young. “The nightmares that I still have to experience every single night, it’s like, life took a total turn,” Pilgrim said.
As the case drags on, their attorneys are now suing the city, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and several officers involved with tasing the students, and they’re demanding accountability. “We’re here because the city has been unwilling to make this right,” said Mawuli Davis, a founding partner of The Davis Bozeman Law Firm. “Accountability is what relieves pain and brings peace.”
During a press conference, the attorneys played the horrific scenes from police body cam footage the students say they re-live every day. They allege the officers were retaliating after Young captured an earlier police-involved incident on video. Police never charged Pilgrim with a crime, and they dropped a charge against Young for eluding police. “First, we’re contending that there was never any basis for them to seize the physical persons,” said Harold Spence, another partner of The Davis Bozeman Law Firm. The attorneys filed several claims against the city, including one for excessive use of force. The students’ parents agree the case has dragged on long enough. “I watch them struggle. I watch them try to be normal,” said Lakisha Pilgrim, Taniyah’s mother. “Let’s impact change. Let’s not put this thing behind us. Let’s put it in front of us and build from it,” said Charles Young, Messiah’s father.
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The attorneys mentioned how Minneapolis and other cities have long settled similar cases. “We are the only city acting this way, and it’s horrific, but that’s fine. We’ll see you in court. That’s what juries are for,” said Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys Managing Partner L. Chris Stewart. He says for a place known as the birthplace of civil rights, Atlanta is now the city of injustice.
A City of Atlanta spokesperson said the city had not been served with a lawsuit yet, as of Thursday afternoon, and officials declined to comment on any pending litigation. The Atlanta Police Department also declined to comment.