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UK Police Officer Who Tased Ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson Found Guilty of Manslaughter

todayJune 24, 2021

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After a six-week trial, Police Constable Benjamin Monk has been found guilty of the manslaughter of former Aston Villa forward Dalian Atkinson.

What We Know:

  • On August 15, 2015, Atkinson, 48, died after being shot by officers with a taser. Monk and PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith arrived at Atkinson’s father’s house in Meadow Close, Telford, after receiving calls that the former football star was behaving strangely in the middle of the street. When they arrived, Atkinson appeared to be having a mental health crisis, made death threats against his family, broke a glass door pane, and yelled that he was the Messiah.
  • Monk, a 14-year veteran, tased Atkinson three times and overrode the taser’s system on the third tase, by holding it down for 33 seconds. The officer also kicked Atkinson in the shoulder, as well as the head, and was said to have had his boot on Atkinson’s head when other responders arrived. Monk claimed he didn’t remember kicking Atkinson, but during the trial, his bootlace prints were shown on Atkinson’s face and blood was found on his boot.
  • Bettley-Smith struck Atkinson with her baton multiple times while he was on the ground. During the trial, both officers said the excessive force was out of self-defense because it took Atkinson three tases to go down and he was about to get up and attack them. Atkinson, in handcuffs, then went into cardiac arrest during transport and died at the hospital.
  • Dr. Jasmeet Soar, a specialist in intensive care medicine, told jurors that Monk’s kicks and 33-second taser hold greatly contributed to Atkinson’s death. He brought up Atkinson’s underlying health conditions of kidney disease and an enlarged heart, along with his mental state and how they played a part in his death. However, he firmly believes the excessive force from Monk is what ended the professional athlete’s life. Soar stated that Monk’s kicks, “were clearly of significance because they contributed to unconsciousness and unconsciousness leads to impairment of breathing and your ability to get oxygen into the body.”
  • Atkinson’s death brought attention to the effects of taser use in the UK. 18 people in the UK have died at the hands of a police officer and taser, causing locals to questioned if tasers are more harmful than helpful. A study by Cambridge University and the City of London police force found that when tasers are involved in police-public interactions, there is a greater chance of hostility. Dr. Barak Ariel, the lead researcher from Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology, stated, “we found that officers are more likely to be assaulted when carrying electroshock weaponry, and more likely to apply force.”
  • Some locals also feel as if Black people are targeted more by taser tactics. Black people make up 3.3% of England and Wales’ population, yet, they are three times more likely to have an officer use a taser on them. When the individual also has mental health problems, the likelihood that a taser will be used is increased. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said he recognizes the issues with these numbers and that things need to change. Those apart of the Black Lives Matter Movement see the police creating the perfect environment for riots, with their overuse of taser tactics on Black people. In the U.S., there have been over 1,000 deaths followed by the use of a taser, and the use of other excessive forces.
  • Atkinson played professional English football for 16 years and was considered a “top-flight” sticker. His goal against Wimbledon in 1992 was voted “Goal of the Season,” and he helped the Aston Villa finish as runner-ups that season. Atkinson played for Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday in England, and then took his talents to Spain, Turkey, and South Korea. He retired in 2001. Aston Villa fans paid tribute to Atkinson at the team’s 2016 championship game.

Atkinson’s family was hoping for a first-degree murder charge, but after a five-year wait, they believe justice has been served and everyone now knows Atkinson’s story. Bettley-Smith is saddened by Atkinson’s death but doesn’t believe her actions warrant an assault charge, as she was saving her and former boyfriend Monk’s life. Jurors are still deliberating on if they will charge her for assault.

The post UK Police Officer Who Tased Ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson Found Guilty of Manslaughter appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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