Atlanta Police officer charged in tasing of college students was named in prior excessive force lawsuit

One of the six Atlanta police officers charged last week after allegedly using excessive force on two college students was named in a lawsuit over a 2016 shootingduring a police raid that killed a mentally ill man.

Details of the 2016 incident are spelled out in two separate and related federal complaints, the first a civil rights lawsuit filed by the victim’s mother and a second from the Fulton County District Attorney seeking documents related to the raid.

According to the DA complaint, on August 5, 2016, Jamarion Rashad Robinson was killed after a federal task force went to serve an arrest warrant at Parkside Camp Creek apartments in Atlanta. That complaint says the task force was made up of 14 law enforcement officers from eight Atlanta-area police departments, and at least one U.S. marshal.

Robinson was shot at least 59 times, according to the complaint, which adds, “the officers fired over 90 rounds into or inside the apartment,” with 9 mm and .40 mm submachine guns and .40 mm Glock pistols.

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“At the conclusion of the shooting, a firearm was located, which the officers claimed that Mr. Robinson fired at them three times. However, when the firearm was recovered, it was damaged and inoperable.” The complaint does not name the officers who fired, reading “one or more defendants began ‘spraying’ bullets.”

In January 2018, Robinson’s mother filed a civil rights lawsuit against several officers, the City of Atlanta, and surrounding municipalities for excessive force, wrongful death, battery, and violating Robinson’s rights under the Fourth Amendment, among other charges.

The suit also alleges Robinson was diagnosed as schizophrenic and that the officers involved in the shooting were not trained to execute arrest warrants for people with psychiatric conditions.The court eventually ordered the City of Atlanta, the City of East Point, and Fulton and Clayton counties to be dismissed as defendants. In September 2019, the judge in the case ordered limited discovery to determine which officers named as defendants discharged weapons. Discovery is still underway.

One of the officers named as a defendant in the complaint filed by Robinson’s mother is Atlanta Police Officer William Sauls.

Both lawsuits are ongoing. The Fulton County DA’s investigation into the incident remains open. The U.S. Department of Justice, representing Sauls in the civil suit, declined to comment on the case.

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Sauls was charged with aggravated assault and property damage resulting from an incident in late May involving the tasing of a Morehouse student and a Spelman student.

Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young were in downtown Atlanta on May 30 picking up food when they got caught in traffic caused by the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Bodycam video from that night shows Atlanta Police officers yanking a woman out of the car and tasing a man. The two victims were later identified as Pilgrim and Young. Sauls is one of six officers who have been charged.

Vince Champion, the southeast regional director of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers who is representing Sauls in the Pilgrim and Young case, told CNN while he understands there may be questions about Officer Sauls’ performance in past cases that might indicate some kind of pattern, “it’s two totally different incidents.”

“You can’t compare those now, today, because we haven’t had investigation on the second one to even know if they’re related in any way,” Champion said.Of the six officers charged in the incident, four have been terminated: Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armon Jones and Sgt. Lonnie Hood, according to police.Streeter and Gardner have filed a civil lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields demanding their jobs back.

CNN’s Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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