POLICE officer Benjamin Monk has been jailed for eight years after being sentenced yesterday. He was convicted of the manslaughter of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson in 2016.
Monk deployed his Taser against Atkinson. Twice he was unsuccessful at incapacitating him, but on the third deployment he overrode the trigger for 33 seconds – six times longer than standard.
When Atkinson fell to the ground, Monk kicked him twice in the head with enough force to leave imprints of his bootlaces. Jurors found this amounted to unlawful force.
The former Aston Villa striker died after the stand-off outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire.
Jurors cleared Monk of an alternative charge of murder on 23 June.
Speaking after the conviction, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said it was the first time in over 30 years that a British police officer had been convicted for manslaughter in the course of their duties. This is despite 1,787 people dying after contact with the police since 1990.
Monk is also believed to be the first officer to face a murder charge after a person had been Tasered by police.
Passing sentence, Judge Melbourne Inman QC told Monk it ‘should have been obvious to you’ the force used was excessive.
‘It was when he was on the floor that you used force that was beyond reasonable,’ he said, adding Monk had ‘let himself and the force down.’
Dalian Atkinson’s long term partner Karen Wright said: ‘The whole trial has been harrowing – seeing his clothes in exhibit bags after seeing them go on his back in the bedroom that morning.
‘We have got harassment on our streets and the justice system needs to serve justice.’
The Atkinson family said in a statement: ‘PC Monk used horrendous violence against Dalian Atkinson who was in an extremely vulnerable position, in mental crisis and needed help, what PC Monks did was a callous attack and a terrible abuse of a police officer’s position
‘We were shocked that PC Monk was not sacked in 2011 for gross misconduct in his dishonesty.
‘He should have never been working for the police in August 2016 and Dalian should not have not died.
‘We pay tribute to all the bereaved families of black men who have died at the hands of the police and whose fights for justice have not led to successful prosecutions.
‘It shouldn’t take the death of a famous footballer for the criminal justice system to work properly and we hope that more families will secure justice in the future regardless if the deceased is a high profile person.
‘As his fellow footballers take the knee, we hope that they will honour the memory of Dalian.’