Anorak News | Dalian Atkinson: police crimes, Tasers, mental health and black skin

Dalian Atkinson: police crimes, Tasers, mental health and black skin

by | 19th, August 2016

A round-up of news on the death of former Aston Villa Dalian Atkinson, who died after being hit by police Tasers.

Daily Mail: “Two officers under criminal investigation over footballer Taser death”

That’s a suggestive headline.

The 48-year-old ex-Aston Villa and Ipswich Town player was shot with a stun gun in the street after allegedly attempting to kill his 85-year-old father in his home.

The police acted criminally in defending a man against murderous attack?

Atkinson died 90 minutes after he was Tasered outside the house where he grew up in Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of Monday.
The retired striker’s death is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which said it would carry out ‘a full and thorough’ inquiry into the actions of West Mercia Police.

The BBC: “Dalian Atkinson: Police officers probed over footballer death”

No word of criminality on the BBC’s headline. This is a probe.

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.

What says the police?

West Mercia Police is continuing to co-operate with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in their independent investigation into the death of a 48-year-old man in Telford.

Dalian Atkinson tragically died in the early hours of Monday 15 August after a Taser was deployed whilst police responded to an incident in Meadow Road, Trench. The incident was referred to the IPCC, as is mandatory with any death following police contact.

Two of the police officers involved in the incident, who are the subject of a criminal investigation by the IPCC, have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and internal proceedings.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham adds:

“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. We respect the position of the IPCC and have today suspended two officers from duty.

“We understand the need for answers when a tragedy like this occurs and we will provide the IPCC with all the information they need to ensure a rigorous and transparent investigation takes place. What is now important is to allow the IPCC time to conduct their independent investigation and not to speculate about what took place.

“Local policing Superintendent for Telford, Tom Harding has met with members of the community to offer reassurance and condolences at this difficult time. We want to ensure that the community are fully engaged with and listened to.

“My thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends, and all those affected.”


Relatives said Atkinson was “not in his right mind”, was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when he was hit with the weapon at about 1.30am. He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to save him.

Tasers. Not very safe at all, then.

The Indy: “Dalian Atkinson was black and mentally ill – we shouldn’t be surprised he was Tasered to death”

Not his heart, then. His head and his skin.

Wail Qasim writes:

In 2015 police in England and Wales used a Taser, whether to threaten or actually discharge it, a total 10,329 times…

He adds:

Black people in this country are three times more likely than their white counterparts to have a Taser used on them. Whilst we only make up around 4 per cent of the population we accounted for around 12 per cent of 36,000 cases between 2010 and 2015. This disproportionately can’t be blamed on the Taser, there must be a prejudice that fuels officers’ use of it.

Qasim’s data is found in a Guardian article:

Home Office data revealed that in more than 12% of about 36,000 cases between 2010 and 2015, the person against whom Tasers were used was black and of African-Caribbean origin or of mixed white and African-Caribbean origin. Black people make up about 4% of the population.

What says the police:

Defending the figures, Dep Asst Comm Neil Basu claimed the majority of the incidents did not involve the use of force. However, he admitted he couldn’t account for the disproportionality of Taser use. “Only three types of the seven uses of Taser actually involve applying force. In 80% of situations it’s never even used and it stops the violence there and then,” he said.

Basu, the National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman on Tasers, said officers had “world-class training” and Tasers were only used in situations “where there is violence or there is impending violence”.

“I don’t think policing has been surprised by disproportionality in the criminal justice system for many years. Explaining it is a different matter,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I don’t think it’s a simple equation about colour because if you are Asian, like me, you are less likely to be subject to a Taser than a white person.”

Tasers don’t differentiate between colour and race. But they can kill.

Posted: 19th, August 2016 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink