Police apologies to family for killing ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson

Police apologies to family for killing ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson

Dalian Police have sent a written apology to the family of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson, who died after being kicked by an officer in the head .

Atkinson, was a former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town star, died in hospital after PC Benjamin Monk used excessive force while arresting him near his childhood home in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.

Monk was convicted and jailed for eight years in June this year for manslaughter after jurors heard he fired a Taser three times, including a single 33-second discharge, and left two bootlace prints on Atkinson’s forehead. He was subsequently dismissed from West Mercia Police the following week.

Pippa Mills, who took over as chief constable of the force in September, has now written to Atkinson’s family to formally apologies.

Police apologies to family for killing ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson

In the correspondence, she wrote that due to the European Convention on Human Rights, there was an “obligation” for her to write to them on behalf of the force to “acknowledge and accept” his human rights were breached in this case.

The letter said: “A police uniform does not grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse their powers.

“Ben Monk’s conduct was in direct contradiction to the standards and behaviour of the policing service, and understandably undermined public confidence.”

She added: “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 Dalian’s wider family and friends.”

Ms Mills also said she recognised the incident was “devastating” for the family, adding: “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.”

The family’s lawyer, Kate Maynard of Hickman and Rose solicitors, said in a statement the official apology was “welcomed and overdue”.

“The chief constable’s acknowledgement that a police uniform does not grant immunity is especially pertinent in a year that has seen other terrible examples of deadly police violence,” she 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.”

The public still awaits West Mercia Police comments on the topic.

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