Police officer who tasered ex-Premier League star Dalian Atkinson and kicked him in the head twice is convicted of manslaughter
A UK police officer involved in the death of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson has been convicted of manslaughter and found not guilty of murder in a court hearing about the ex-striker’s death by a 50,000-volt taser.
PC Benjamin Monk fired a stun gun into Atkinson for 33 seconds and kicked him twice in the head while the 48-year-old laid unprotected on the ground during an incident in August 2016.
Monk had been accused of lying in court over his account of the confrontation, and of both kicking and stamping on the ex-England B international’s head while he barely held on to consciousness on the ground.
Kicked with such brutal force, Atkinson’s blood was found on the laces of the police issue boots Monk wore, and details of the violence were only made public during the trial some five years after the Villa favorite’s untimely passing.
This is a hugely significant verdict. The first time a police officer has been convicted of manslaughter for a death in custody in nearly 40 years.
Benjamin Monk tasered Dalian Atkinson and then kicked him in the head while he was down on the ground. pic.twitter.com/oZqBu7bw0H
— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) June 23, 2021
As a consequence of today’s ruling, Monk is the first police officer convicted of manslaughter while on duty in more than three decades.
The jury at Birmingham Crown Court reached their verdict after nearly 19 hours of deliberation. First acquitting him of murder, they then unanimously convicted Monk on a manslaughter charge.
At present, there is still work to be done as they consider verdicts on Monk’s co-accused – PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who has denied actual bodily harm in using a baton to strike Atkinson while he laid on the ground.
Thought’s with Dalian Atkinson. R.i.p. And his Family Today , Respect X 💚☘️🇮🇪.
— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) June 23, 2021
Following the verdict, the victim’s family released a statement. “We are hugely relieved that the whole country now knows the truth about how Dalian died,” it said.
“While it has been hard for us not to be able to talk about the details of Dalian’s death, it has been even harder to sit through this trial and to hear PC Monk try to justify the force he used.
Referencing Atkinson’s mental health struggles, which are said to have seen him threaten to kill his father, they said: “On the night he died, Dalian was vulnerable and unwell and needed medical attention.
“He instead received violence and died with PC Monk’s boot lace prints bruised on to his forehead.
“We have been sickened to hear PC Monk try to minimize the force he used on Dalian and exaggerate the threat [Atkinson] posed. Fortunately, the jury has seen through the lies and the pretence. We would like to thank the jury members for all their hard work and attention.”
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