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The cop that beat Dalian Atkinson keeps her job

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PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith will keep her job at the Met Police after beating Dalian Atkinson who later died
Issue 2847
Dalian Atkinson police state

The fight for justice for Dalian Atkinson is not over yet

A police constable who repeatedly beat ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson on the night he was killed by her colleague has been found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel—but kept her job. PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith—a student officer at the time—hit the former professional footballer six times as he lay on the ground in Telford, Shropshire, in 2016.

The panel found Bettley-Smith’s last three strikes were “unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable”.  She said she “perceived” him trying to get up, but several witnesses say Atkinson “was not moving” or resisting at the time. 

The news follows the jailing of PC Benjamin Monk in 2021 for eight years for the manslaughter of Atkinson. Monk kicked Atkinson in the head at least twice and Tasered him. It’s a far too familiar story of how police officers target black and mentally distressed people. 

And now, as Dalian Atkinson’s family fights for justice, the system is stacked against them.  His older sister, Elaine, said the family had been “shattered” by Dalian’s death and she was “disappointed really with the outcome” of the hearing. “At the end of the day, Dalian’s gone and it’s down to those officers,” she said.

The family’s solicitor, Kate Maynard, said, “It’s been seven years and the family have found themselves involved in various complex legal proceedings. “It is disappointing that the last word on this matter is that PC Bettley-Smith keeps her job. 

“You have to ask what it takes to remove an officer from their duties,” she said.  Bettley-Smith said in evidence, “I just remember what I perceived to be a really aggressive, hostile, growling and just thought we had antagonised him even more by Tasering him.”

But three witnesses, who watched from their windows, say Dalian lay on the ground and “never moved” after being Tasered.  The pointless Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it was satisfied with the outcome.  This case shows that the fight against police brutality cannot be left to the courts or IOPC. 

It will continue unless countered by a mass anti-racist movement on the streets.


Hull activists outnumber fascists 

Up to 300 trade unionists and anti‑racists decisively outnumbered fascist splinter groups,  Patriotic Alternative and others last Saturday in Hull city centre. 

Around 50 of the group’s supporters showed up to try and sow division in the city. Patriotic Alternative had been distributing leaflets around Hull. But one woman told Hull Live, “If I get one I’ll keep it in case there is a toilet roll shortage.” 

Activists were able to prevent the fascists from rallying around the statue in Queen Victoria Square where they had planned to be. Counter-protesters dominated the square, drowning the fascists’ bile out with music, speeches and chanting.

Activists held banners that read, “Refugees welcome here” and “Don’t let the racists divide us.”  Due to pressure placed on the fascists in the run up to the day, they were unable to gather at the cenotaph which is directly opposite a hotel housing asylum seekers. The counter‑protest was called by Hull trades council. 

It was supported by trade unions including Unite Community, Unison, several teachers’ unions and a large contingent from the RMT which came straight from their rail picket line.  Stand Up To Racism, refugee support groups, Labour councillors and Labour party members, and Palestine Solidarity Humber also joined the demonstration.

Mark Woyen and Eleanor Woyen

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