Socialist Worker

Dalian Atkinson dies from cops’ taser

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2517

Police across Britain use tasers

Police across Britain use tasers (Pic: Wikimedia Commons/Harry Mitchell)


Former Aston Villa football player Dalian Atkinson died in Telford on Monday after police tasered him outside his father’s house.

Neighbour Paula Quinn said he was “stumbling” when police fired—and that they kept shooting when he was down.

“They were shouting and kicking so much all I could hear were the boots hitting him,” she said.

Dalian went into cardiac arrest.

The case has been referred to the toothless Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) watchdog.

But Dalian’s nephew Fabian fears police will “push it under the carpet”.

Ken Faro, a filmmaker and justice campaigner, told Socialist Worker, “The family will have to wait several years for justice if this goes the usual route of an inquest.

“Judging by the evidence so far, it’s incumbent on the Crown Prosecution Service to charge these officers.”

Black people are three times more likely to be tasered than the average, according to Home Office figures.

Weyman Bennett from Stand Up to Racism told Socialist Worker, “There’s too many black people dying at the hands of the police using lethal force.

“We demand an answer as to how yet another man has lost his life.”

Shock 

Tasers deliver a huge electric shock, but are branded “non-lethal” to justify making their use routine.

Two thirds of taser uses in Britain are against people with mental illness. Dalian’s father Ernest had called the cops after Dalian turned up to his house “in a real state”.

Spencer Beynon died by taser in Llanelli, South Wales, in June. The former soldier had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tasers aren’t the only way people die in police custody.

Sunday of this week will mark eight years since Sean Rigg died in Brixton in south London.

His family have campaigned ever since to get justice. An inquest jury in 2012 found that police used unnecessary force against Sean.

His family has called a memorial event on Sunday from 3-8pm at the Karibu Centre, 7 Gresham Road, Brixton, SW9 7PH.

A rally has been called in Birmingham the following week to demand justice for Kingsley Burrell (see details below).

Police officers arrested and sectioned Kingsley in the city in 2011.

An inquest jury ruled that police restraint and neglect contributed to his death. But the IPCC had decided last May that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone.

Friday 26 August, 12 noon-3pm, Birmingham Cathedral St Philip’s, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2QB

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