Socialist Worker

Cop kicked Dalian Atkinson ‘similar to a footballer kicking a football’, jury hears

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2755

Police used a Taser on Dalian Atkinson

Police used a Taser on Dalian Atkinson (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A police officer kicked Dalian Atkinson “similar to a footballer kicking a football with substantial force”, a court has heard.

PC Benjamin Monk is charged with murder and manslaughter of the 48-year-old former footballer who was tasered in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016. PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Both deny all charges.

This week a witness, David Lewis, said he saw Monk and Bettley-Smith run “as fast as they could” away from Atkinson.

Lewis said that he did not see Monk discharge his Taser, but did see Bettley-Smith raising her baton and bringing it down twice.

Lewis’ late wife Janet’s written statement was also heard. 

The statement said Monk kicked Atkinson “similar to a footballer kicking a football with substantial force”. She added that “even with my window closed I could hear the strikes administered” by Bettley-Smith’s baton.

Monk also told PC Mark Bedford that Atkinson “may be a bit bloody as I had to kick him”.

PC Samuel Wright told jurors when he arrived Atkinson was face down on the ground. “PC Monk was stood towards his head with a Taser in his hand and with one of his feet gently resting on Mr Atkinson's head,” Wright said.

PC Julia Hiller also recalled Atkinson making “gurgling sounds” while on the floors. She explained to the jury he seemed “semi-conscious” while being arrested.

The court heard previously that Atkinson had a number of underlying health conditions.

Three pathologists agree he would have survived “were it not for the third Taser deployment and the kicks to his head”.

Monk attempted to Taser Atkinson twice and failed.

On the third attempt the Taser was deployed for 33 seconds—six times longer than the standard length.

Properly

This week the court was told the Taser that Monk used on Atkinson was working properly.

Sergeant Waterworth said he carried out tests to check that a single press of the trigger would produce a standard five-second Taser cycle. He confirmed that a safety switch deactivating the weapon was working.

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC asked whether Waterworth noticed anything about the length of the activations when he downloaded the Taser data

Waterworth said, “Yes, it was a long cycle.”

Asked if the long activation period was something he was used to seeing he said, “That's very difficult to say.”

PC Richard Edward travelled with Atkinson in the ambulance to the hospital. He said, “I was certainly concerned about the removal of the handcuffs. I recall in the ambulance the paramedic asked whether the handcuffs could come off.

“I explained that due to the level of aggression that had occurred prior, I was concerned that if I removed them he could pose a threat to ourselves in the ambulance.”

Paramedic James Roberts told the jury that he asked for them to be removed “so we could roll him on his back... so he could be more comfortable”.

James said Atkinson was “verbally unresponsive” at the scene and his breathing deteriorated on the way to the hospital.

He said he saw barbs—electrodes fired by a Taser—resting on Atkinson's shirt and others resting on his skin as he lay in the road.

While in the five minute journey to the hospital Atkinson's condition deteriorated.

He went into respiratory arrest and arrived at hospital at 2:10am. After 30 minutes of efforts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at 2.45am.

The trial continues. 


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