A police officer has been charged with the murder of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson who died after being tasered in 2016.
A second West Mercia Police constable has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The pair will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon.
They cannot be named as laywers are applying for them to remain anonymous.
The first police officer has also been charged with unlawful act manslaughter as an alternative offence, which a jury may consider if it finds the more serious charge has not been approved, the CPS added.
Atkinson died in August 15, 2016 after being hit by a Taser during an incident near his father’s home in the Trench area of Telford.
The retired 48-year-old, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield, went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to help him.
At the time, West Mercia Police said officers were called over concerns “for the safety of an individual”.
Jenny Hopkins, head of the CPS’ Special Crime and counter Terrorism Division, said: “Following the death of Dalian Atkinson in Telford on 15 August 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised a charge of murder against a West Mercia police constable.
“A second police constable, from the same force, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH).
“Mr Atkinson’s family has been informed.
“This decision was made following a careful review of all the evidence presented to us by the Independent Office for Police Conduct following an investigation.”
Atkinson played for Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday in between 1985 and 1990, then Aston Villa from 1991-1995 before joining a handful of teams abroad, including in Spain for Real Sociedad and Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, before retiring from football in 2001.
Kate Maynard, Atkinson’s family lawyer, said: “Dalian’s family welcomes the decision to put the conduct of police officers before a jury but regrets that already more than three years have passed since Dalian died.
“They ask for their privacy to be respected and press for the criminal proceedings to progress without delay or obstruction.”
The decision to charge both officers was made after the case was referred to the CPS by the police watchdog, the Indpendent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The IOPC said its investigation gathered evidence which indicated that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force.
Source : Sky News : http://news.sky.com/story/dalian-atkinson-police-officer-charged-with-murder-of-ex-aston-villa-footballer-11856383
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