Atlanta mayor: 2 officers fired in ‘excessive force’ arrests

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Atlanta Police, monitor demonstrators protesting, Friday, May 30, 2020 in Atlanta. The protest started peacefully earlier in the day before demonstrators clashed with police. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s mayor announced Sunday evening that two police officers have been fired and three others were placed on desk duty pending review of what she called excessive use of force during a protest incident Saturday night.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference that she and police Chief Erika Shields made the decision after reviewing body-camera footage of a video inn which officers pull a woman passenger from a car and appear to use a stun gun on the male driver in arresting the two.

“Use of excessive force is never acceptable,” Bottoms told reporters.

Shields said the video came to light after circulating online and she called the footage “really shocking to watch.”

It shows a group of police officers in riot gear and gas masks surround a car being driven by the man with the woman in the passenger seat. After officers pull the woman out and appear to use a stun gun on the man, they use zip-tie handcuffs on the woman on the ground.

The couple did not appear to be fighting police on the video.

Bottoms said charges have been dropped against the woman, and the man has been released.

Local reporters, who captured footage of the incident, said the police had earlier broken glass on the car. A reporter said police also flattened the tires.

Atlanta’s mayor has extended a curfew for another night Sunday and Georgia’s governor authorized up to 3,000 National Guard troops to be deployed in cities across the state to respond if needed to protests over the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia.

Guard soldiers had helped enforce a 9 p.m. curfew Saturday in Atlanta, where violence has marred otherwise peaceful protests since Friday. Gov. Brian Kemp said more would be ready Sunday for any further demonstrations planned in Georgia cities.

Atlanta police said Sunday they had arrested more than 150 people as protesters threw rocks at officers and broke windows in the downtown area. The curfew was initially imposed after demonstrations Friday night turned violent with people setting fires and smashing windows at businesses and restaurants.

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