Six months after an officer who Tasered him and kicked him in the head was jailed for manslaughter, police have extended a written apology to the family of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson.
Pippa Mills, the Chief Constable of West Mercia, expressed her “deep regret.”
“A police uniform does not provide officers with immunity from acting illegally or abusing their authority,” she said.
PC Benjamin Monk’s conviction for death in custody was the first in 30 years.
In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement, the family of Mr Dalian Atkinson, a former Premier League player with Aston Villa, claimed the case demonstrated the need for change in the way black people were handled by police and the criminal justice system.
Ms Mills became chief constable of West Mercia Police in September, three months after the court processes were completed.
She wrote to the family that she had a “duty” under the European Convention on Human Rights to “acknowledge and accept” on behalf of the force that Mr Atkinson’s human rights had been violated.
“Ben Monk’s actions were in direct contravention to the policing service’s norms and behavior, and predictably eroded public trust,” she stated.
“I am extremely sorry for the sad impact that the acts of a West Mercia officer have had on you,” the chief constable said, “and I send my heartfelt condolences to you all, as well as Dalian’s extended family and friends.”
“I cannot understand the great agony you have had and how the significant delays in the trial have added to your weight of grief,” Ms Mills said, acknowledging that the incident was “devastating” for the family.
“Over the last five years, you have shown tremendous strength and decency.”
Mr Dalian Atkinson died in hospital in 2016 after being detained outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire, for a serious illness that had damaged his physical and mental health.
According to neighbors, the former footballer was having a mental breakdown and was shouting outside his father’s house, claiming to be the Messiah.
Monk shocked the 48-year-old for 33 seconds before kicking him in the street, hard enough to leave bootlace marks on Mr Dalian Atkinson’s forehead. Monk’s actions were regarded by the judge at his trial as a “obvious” use of excessive force.
Monk was sentenced to eight years in prison in June, marking the first time in three decades that a British officer has been convicted of manslaughter for conduct taken while on duty.
Source: BBC News UK.