November 8 – A police constable has been charged with murdering Dalian Atkinson who died following a taser incident.
Atkinson played for Aston Villa and Manchester City, but died, aged 48, after a fracas outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of 15 August 2016. Atkinson was restrained at home, but died following the use of taser. Now, a second police officer from the West Mercia Police force, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm. Both were bailed after appearing at Birmingham Crown Court.
Atkinson’s family has said that the ex-player was suffering from a number of health issues and had a weak heart when the Taser was deployed. Atkinson began his career at Ipswich Town before moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa and Fenerbahçe in Turkey.
On Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that two officers, were facing charges. One had been charged with murder, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment, and also faced an alternate charge of manslaughter. The other had been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.
“The investigation gathered evidence which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force,” said the IOPC previously of its inquiry.
Kate Maynard, the solicitor for the Atkinson family, said: “Dalian’s family welcomes the decision to put the conduct of police officers before a jury but regrets that already more than three years have passed since Dalian died.
“They ask for their privacy to be respected and press for the criminal proceedings to progress without delay or obstruction.”
It is very rare for an officer to face a charge of murder for their actions while on duty.
“Our thoughts continue to remain with the family and friends of Dalian Atkinson at this difficult time,” said the West Mercia chief constable Anthony Bangham. “We understand the need for answers. However, as court proceedings are now under way it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment regarding the circumstances of Mr Atkinson’s death.”
“The officers involved have a right to a fair trial and we will continue to make sure they have the appropriate support throughout the forthcoming criminal justice process.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1579783565labto1579783565ofdlr1579783565owedi1579783565sni@o1579783565fni1579783565