Over the weekend, two college students, Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, were driving in Atlanta when they were approached by police officers. Seemingly out of nowhere, officers bashed in their windows with batons, slashed their tires, and tased and dragged the young couple from their car — all on live television.
The couple was merely out looking to grab a bite to eat before the 9 PM curfew set in and weren’t even participating in the protest. Young stopped to give a quick ‘hello’ to a friend of his he saw on the road. The friend was pulled from the car by the cops and taken to the ground for no reason at all. Young started recording the encounter on his phone and asked the officers to please let him take his friend with them in his car, and they told him to “Go or go to jail.”
He did as he was told and drove ahead, but ended up getting stopped because of traffic. That’s when the cops came in for the attack. The pair had done absolutely nothing wrong.
Young and Pilgrim are now speaking out on the horrific experience and the PTSD they are suffering. Young, a student at Morehouse, told BET.com,
“’I don’t want to die’ is what kept going through my mind. Every time I close my eyes, I’m literally remembering and being pulled back into the moment. I literally try to just erase it.”
After having a window smashed in on him, being dragged from his car, and hit in the back more than 10 times, he ended up with a broken wrist and more than 20 stitches. He said,
“My wrist, it’s almost all over my body, my ribs, chest, back — there’s a lot of soreness, a lot of pain. I literally feel my body aching so it’s kind of tough right now.”
Young’s girlfriend Pilgrim, a student at Spellman, suffered less physical injuries but certainly suffered from just as much emotional trauma. She told GMA,
“I thought both Messiah and I were going to die.”
There were six officers involved in the attack, all of which have been charged with excessive force. Five officers were also charged with aggravated assault. Four of the officers have since been demoted to desk duty and the other two have been terminated. There were also additional charges spread out among the six including pointing or aiming a gun, simple battery, and criminal damage to property. But, this is only the beginning for these offenders.
As for Young and Pilgrim, they’re just relieved that the officers are facing consequences for their actions. Young said at a press conference,
“I feel a little safer that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else from this point on. We just hope there is a change in the police culture.”
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Aside from being a writer, Ashley is a mom of two girls and a wife to a passionate public school administrator. When she does have free time (cue laughter from working moms everywhere) she loves going to hot yoga classes, watching anything on Netflix that isn’t a cartoon, and weaving her way through every aisle of Target while listening to one of her favorite podcasts.