Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Was black ex-Premier League star Dalian Atkinson Tasered while he was on the FLOOR?

A Taser is usually non-lethal and is a reasonable way of taking down someone behaving irrationally.  So the death was the result of the man's severe pre-existing illnesses, not the Taser.  The police seem to have acted reasonably in this case

Former Premier League footballer Dalian Atkinson was Tasered to death in the street by police after flying into a rage possibly fuelled by drink or drugs, his heartbroken father has said.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the 48-year-old drunkenly stumbling towards officers in a 'non-threatening' manner before being shot 'four or five times', even when he had fallen to the floor.

West Mercia Police, whose officers rushed to the scene in Telford, Shropshire, amid 'concerns for the safety of an individual', declined to comment on the allegations because the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

IPCC deputy chairman Rachel Cerfontyne said this evening that an investigation team had met with Mr Atkinson's family to explain their role probing officers' actions.

She said: 'I would like to assure people that we have begun a full and thorough investigation into police contact with Dalian Atkinson prior to his death, including the level and type of force used.

'Our investigation team have been securing and preserving relevant evidence, and identifying witnesses. Investigators have met Mr Atkinson's immediate family to explain our role and we have appointed a family liaison manager to keep them updated.'

The ex-striker, who made his name playing for Aston Villa in England's top flight in the 1990s, was 'very agitated' shortly before officers discharged the Taser, his elderly father Ernest has said.

He had been visiting the 85-year-old at the time and a next door neighbour told how Atkinson's father repeatedly said this morning: 'He's gone, my boy is dead'. Others said the former Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday player had a weak heart and had suffered from kidney failure in the past.

Neighbours claimed to see Atkinson banging on his father's door and 'shouting about being homeless' in the lead up to his death. He then went down 'like a lead balloon' after being hit by the Taser, an eyewitness said.

Speaking from his home in Telford, Shropshire, the former footballer's father said: 'He was in a real state. I don't know if he was drunk or on drugs but he was very agitated and his mind was upset.

'The last thing he said to me was "don't move" when the police came to the door. He was threatening and very upset. I didn't call the police but someone else did.

'He got tasered in the street outside in the road. I didn't see him but I saw a flash. I haven't had any sleep and cannot take it in. The police are dealing with this now.'

Eyewitnesses reported seeing the 48-year-old drunkenly stumbling towards officers in a 'non-threatening' manner before being shot 'four or five times'.

Eyewitness Paula Quinn, 44, claimed the Taser was discharged numerous times by an officer even after Atkinson fell to the floor. She said: 'I was up and about and I could hear a car alarm going off. It was Dalian's Porsche alarm.

'I heard shouting and that's when I looked out the window and saw the two police officers and the gentleman, who I now know was Dalian.

'He was walking toward them, not aggressively, he appeared to be drunk or something. They warned him they were going to Taser him and he appeared to be stumbling forwards.

'Then he was Tasered and he fell to the floor. I heard the taser go off again a number of times, at least four or five, when he was on he ground.

'There wasn't any noise coming from the gentlemen anymore. The ambulance arrived 10 to 15 minutes after and they worked on him for 15 minutes. He was wheeled off and appeared to be unconscious.'

Atkinson's 31-year-old nephew, Fabian, today criticised police for using 'excessive force'.

He said: 'Nobody deserves being Tasered in such a way without due care. I think these situations are sprung by fear.

'It was an argument, I don't know what it was for but I think it was an argument between family. Apparently he stumbled and then they tasered him. This is one thing that has got me angry because of the way the police operated.

'I know they will just push it under the carpet the best they can. 'I'm frustrated, annoyed, shocked and overwhelmed. They didn't need to use such excessive force.'

The National Police Chiefs' Council - which represents senior police - say that 'officers who are trained and equipped with Taser must decide on the most reasonable and necessary use of force in the circumstances'.

The guidance adds: 'The level of force used must be proportionate to achieve the objective and officers are individually accountable in law for the amount of force they use on a person.'

Fabian Atkinson said his uncle 'had a few problems with drink', adding: 'He was having dialysis for kidney problems, he was just getting himself back together with that and that is why his heart was weaker.'

Another family friend said the former footballer had only just come out of hospital a few days ago.

Neighbours described hearing 'a lot of shouting and police' outside the family home at around 1.30am.

Several claimed he had been trying to kick in the door of his family home while his father barricaded himself inside.

'Dalian was shouting about being homeless, he wanted his dad to let him in - but his dad wouldn't so he was kicking the door. I have no idea why, or what they were fighting about.

'Then someone phoned the police, and they came - I don't know exactly what happened after that, but it's very tragic.

Original report here

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