Footballer Dalian Atkinson Dead After UK Police Taser Him
Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson was tasered by police and died shortly after Monday night, news outlets reported. Officers responded to an alert about the “safety of an individual” near the footballer’s father’s home in Shropshire, UK. His father said his son appeared quite agitated right before the incident.
“He was in a real state. I don't know if he was drunk or on drugs but he was very agitated and his mind was upset,” his father told The Telegraph. "He was threatening and very upset. I didn't call the police but someone else did. He got tasered in the street outside in the road. I didn't see him but I saw a flash. I haven't had any sleep and cannot take it in."
Atkinson was given medical treatment but was pronounced dead about 90 minutes later, according to West Mercia Police. "West Mercia Police can confirm that officers responded to a report for the concern for the safety of an individual at approximately 1.30 am this morning at an address in Telford," the force said in a statement. "West Mercia Police are unable to comment any further as the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as is normal procedure, and will assist the IPCC with their inquiries."
RIP Dalian Atkinson. You’ll never be forgotten! #AVFC https://t.co/eAPbAbtpJa— Aston Villa (@Aston Villa) 1471261728.0
Atkinson was a top flight striker in the nineties, who ended his career playing in South Korea in 2001. An outpouring of grief emerged on social media following his death, as well as remarks about the issue of police brutality, especially against Black people, as a phenomenon in the United Kingdom as well. Atkinson’s former manager at Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday, Ron Atkinson, paid tribute to him. describing his death as "tragic".
"He always had a smile on his face - and played football with a smile on his face,” he said, as reported by The Independent
Very sad news to hear Dalian Atkinson lost his life. #RIP my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time https://t.co/9PxWj5ntWR— Frank Bruno MBE 🇬🇧 (@Frank Bruno MBE 🇬🇧) 1471262879.0
Next door neighbour Lascelles Rose told the Telegraph the incident comes as unusual. "He was never a trouble-maker or anything like that and the police had never been round there before - I just can't understand why this has happened,” said Rose.
Terrible news about Dalian Atkinson. Losing his life after being tasered by police. Thoughts are with this fine footballer's family. #RIP— Gary Lineker (@Gary Lineker) 1471261453.0
In 2015, police’s use of tasers, which are intended to be used as a non-lethal weapon, went up slightly towards the end of the year with 10,329 uses by forces in both England and Wales, a two percent rise from the previous year. In addition, between January 2014 and November 2015, officers in England and Wales used tasers on minors at least 407 times, 57 times in which they were used against children aged 14 or younger.