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DATE PUBLISHED: 1400/10/06 - 17:14:1
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UK police apologize for killing black football icon who was kicked in head and Tasered


Dalian Atkinson died in 2016. © Action Images via Reuters

Police in Britain have finally formally apologized for the death of black ex-Premier League star Dalian Atkinson

UK police have apologized to the family of former Aston Villa icon Dalian Atkinson, who died after being Tasered and kicked by an officer during an arrest in 2016.

Atkinson is best remembered for his time at Villa, where he won the League Cup in 1994, but also enjoyed spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Spanish club Real Sociedad.

In August 2016, the 48-year-old, suffering from a serious illness at the time which affected his physical and mental state, died in hospital following an arrest outside his fatherís house in Telford, where he was tasered for 33 seconds and kicked while on the floor.

The officer responsible, Ben Monk, was jailed for eight years in June with a police watchdog stating it was the first time in three decades that an officer in the UK had been convicted of manslaughter for actions in the course of duty.

West Merciaís chief constable, Pippa Mills, has now said she is "deeply sorry" for the incident in a letter to Atkinsonís family and stressed that a police uniform "does not grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse their powers".

"I am deeply sorry for the devastating impact the actions of a West Mercia officer has caused you and I extend my deepest condolences to you all, and Dalianís wider family and friends," Mills said.

"I cannot imagine the immense pain you have felt and how the significant delays with the trial have also added to your burden of grief.

"You have demonstrated great strength and dignity throughout the past five years."

In their statement reacting to Millsí correspondence, a lawyer for Atkinsonís family, Kate Maynard, described the apology as "welcomed and overdue".

"The chief constableís acknowledgment that a police uniform does not grant immunity is especially pertinent in a year that has seen other terrible examples of deadly police violence," Maynard said.

"With the first conviction of a serving police officer on a manslaughter charge connected with his policing duties in over 30 years, it is hoped that this will serve as a deterrent, and also embolden those who seek police accountability."


At Monkís trial, his legal representatives said that he had no intention to kill or injure Atkinson - who was suffering a mental breakdown and shouted that he was the Messiah according to neighbors - despite kicking him hard enough to leave bootlace footprints on the victimís head.

The judge ruled that this and the tasering was an "obvious" use of excessive force, however, and despite protests that Monkís conduct was out of character, the court heard that West Mercia police gave him a final warning in 2011 after a breach of standards of honesty and integrity by failing to disclose cautions for theft and drunkenness prior to joining the force.


Following Monkís verdict, West Mercia Policeís Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones said she was "sincerely sorry" while offering her own apologies.

Yet Millsí letter to Atkinsonís family is the first time that the force in the West Midlands has formally apologized for the killing, and offers them clearance half a decade on.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/25283


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