The family of Dalian Atkinson, the former Aston Villa star, who was allegedly tasered and kicked by police in Telford before he died on the night of August 15, are worried that police might try to cover up their role in his death.
The police officers who tasered Dalian Atkinson, and then allegedly kicked him after he was subdued, were not wearing body cameras that recorded their actions, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. “None of the relevant officers were wearing body worn video cameras,” the IPCC said.
Atkinson’s family is angry because they have not been allowed to view his body, according to The Sun. Two brothers of Atkinson say they were asked by West Mercia Police to identify Atkinson’s corpse but when they arrived at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford they were told the body had been moved to a morgue 55 miles away, and that the family will not be able to see the body until the investigation is over.
The condition of Atkinson’s body is crucial in the case because a neighbour, Paula Quinn, has made two on-the-record statements saying she saw a police officer kicking Atkinson after he had been disabled by a taser, and that officers continued to electrocute Atkinson while he was on the ground.
Atkinson’s cousin, Fabian Atkinson told the Mirror that he worries the former Aston Villa star was the victim of a “legalised murder”:
“What it boils down to is one man killing another man. It’s legalised murder. … Everybody sugarcoats it but they shouldn’t. The police killed him. The story is murder.”
Police are three times more likely to draw and use their tasers on black people in the UK than they are on everyone else, according to data from the Home Office. Between 2010 and 2015 police unholstered or used tasers 36,000 times, The Guardian reported. In 12% of those cases the target was black, even though black people are only about 4% of the UK population.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne promised a fair investigation:
“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.”
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