Dalian Atkinson: Police officers probed over footballer death
18 August 2016
- From the section Shropshire
Two police officers are under criminal investigation after the death of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson who died after he was shot with a Taser.
The West Mercia officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, the force said.
Mr Atkinson died shortly after being shot following an altercation in Meadow Close, Trench, in Telford on Monday.
A post-mortem examination was inconclusive.
IPCC Commissioner, Derrick Campbell, said the investigation would consider Mr Atkinson’s death and the “level and type of force used” against him.
The watchdog said a “criminal investigation does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow”.
Police said the Taser was deployed at about 01:30 BST in Telford, Shropshire after officers were called to a report of concern for a man’s safety at Mr Atkinson’s father’s house.
A neighbour described seeing the 48-year-old being Tasered after “stumbling towards” police.
Mr Atkinson went into cardiac arrest on his way to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 03:00.
Mr Campbell said: “Two police officers will be interviewed under criminal caution by IPCC investigators.
“We will keep Mr Atkinson’s family updated, and our thoughts remain with all of those affected by his death.”
In a statement, Mr Atkinson’s family said they were “still in shock”.
“We are determined to get justice for him which means getting to the truth,” it said.
“We are looking to the IPCC to carry out a thorough and robust investigation that will ultimately provide transparency and accountability. Dalian’s memory requires nothing less.”
Mr Atkinson was a top-flight striker in the 1990s, starting his career at Ipswich Town then playing for Sheffield Wednesday and Spanish side Real Sociedad before moving to Villa.
He scored 23 goals in 85 appearances for the Birmingham side between 1991 and 1995.
West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: “I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dalian who are going through this traumatic time.
“I would like to reassure his family and the community that we will fully co-operate with the IPCC.”
A petition calling on the Prime Minister to urgently review police use of Tasers has so far gathered more than 50,000 signatures.