top of page

Students Shocked With Tasers In Car During 2020 Protest Awarded $2 Million Settlement From City 

The Atlanta City Council approved a $2 million settlement to college students Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, who were shocked with Tasers and forcibly removed from their car during George Floyd protests in May 2020. The incident, which was widely shared online, involved police confronting the students as they were stuck in downtown traffic. Young and Pilgrim, students at historically Black colleges in Atlanta, filed a federal lawsuit in June 2021, claiming the police actions were unjustified.

Following the incident, then-Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and then-Police Chief Erika Shields announced firing two officers and reassigning three others. Arrest warrants were issued for six officers by then-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. However, in February 2021, the Atlanta Civil Service Board overturned the dismissals, citing procedural errors, and a special prosecutor dropped the charges against the six officers in May 2022.

The council's settlement resolution explicitly states it is not an admission of liability. Lawyers for Pilgrim and Young commended the city for settling the case, highlighting the lasting emotional trauma endured by the students. Pilgrim's attorneys described the incident as causing permanent mental scars and called it a case of excessive force. Young's attorney emphasized the settlement's role in helping the students and their families heal and reiterated the ongoing struggle against police misconduct.

Body camera footage from the night of the incident shows officers aggressively confronting the students. Young, while recording on his phone, was forcibly pulled from the car after officers smashed the window and used a Taser on him. Pilgrim was also Tasered as she tried to exit the vehicle. Despite police claims, no gun was recovered from Young. The dramatic video footage highlighted the excessive nature of the police response, contributing to public outrage and the subsequent lawsuit.

Link: NBCNews


bottom of page