British police on Monday offered an official apology to the family of former footballer Dalian Atkinson, who was killed by one of its members in 2016, six months after the policeman involved in his death was imprisoned.
Atkinson died at the age of 48 in hospital in 2016, about an hour after policeman Benjamin Monk electrocuted him with a “Tiser” pistol three times, one of which lasted 33 seconds, and kicked him twice in the head.
Monk was sentenced in June to eight years in prison for causing the death of the former Aston Villa star, in a ruling that was “necessary” to maintain public confidence in the police, the judge said at the time.
Pippa Mills, who took over as West Mercia police chief in September, wrote to the Atkinsons saying “I am deeply sorry for the devastating impact” of Monk’s behavior.
And it held that “the police uniform does not give police officers immunity for acting illegally or abusing their powers.”
Mills noted that she has an “obligation” to “recognize and accept” that Atkinson’s rights have been violated under the European Convention on Human Rights.
During his career as a striker, Atkinson defended the colors of Ipswich Town (1985-1989), Sheffield Wednesday (1989-1990), Spanish Real Sociedad (1990-1991), Aston Villa (1991-1995) and Turkey’s Fenerbahce (1995-1997), during which time he was loaned to France’s Metz and Manchester City) and the Saudi Federation (1997-1999), before moving to the South Korean League for a short period, after which he put an end to his football career, during which he won the English League Cup in 1994 and the Turkish League in 1996.
The family’s attorney, Kate Maynard, said in a statement the official apology was “welcome and overdue,” adding, “With a first conviction in 30 years for a serving police officer for manslaughter linked to his policing duties, it is hoped that this serves as a deterrent and also encourages those who seek to police accountability.
Atkinson’s heart stopped and he died in hospital after police were called to his father’s home in Telford, north of Birmingham, in August 2016.
The judge found at Monk’s trial that Atkinson’s mental state had “suddenly and dramatically deteriorated”.
But Monk’s verdict, after a six-week trial, ruled that the officer had used excessive force.
During the hearings, it was also revealed that Monk had twice been convicted of serious misconduct but had been allowed to remain in his job.
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