Tasered three times with thousands of volts, the last held for 33 seconds, over six times the regulation dose; beaten with a steel baton and stamped on and kicked – such that the boot lace imprints on his head were still there at post mortem. Mentally and physically ill Dalian stood little chance.
All the studies on Taser safety are on fit and healthy subjects (Jama Network ). A Reuters paper on American use reported that “people particularly susceptible to harm from a Taser’s powerful shock covers nearly a third of the U.S. population, yet police have repeatedly used Tasers on people who fall into the very groups the company warns about (pregnant women, young children, old people, frail people, people with heart conditions, people on drugs or alcohol. The list goes on).” There is no reason to believe that there are fewer vulnerable victims in the UK. Amnesty commenting on a Dutch study state “that manufacturer extensively mentions in the documentation the increased health risks when Tasers are used against seriously disturbed persons or when multiple electric shocks are administered in succession.”
Benjamin Monk is charged with the murder of Dalian Atkinson during an altercation in Shropshire in 2016.
His co-accused, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, is charged with assault. Opening the trial, prosecutors read witness statements which claim Mr Atkinson was kicked or struck by the officers after falling to the ground. “Tentative” kicks by PC Monk were followed by “a final massive and powerful kick” as Mr Atkinson lay motionless on the floor, at the same time the female officer was striking the man with her extendable baton.” BBC
The Birmigham Mail trial report states one resident recalled Mr Atkinson saying to the officers “You’re scared aren’t ya?’ before adding ‘You will remember this day, this day will go down in history. The Messiah is coming. This is the day of the Messiah”. The prosecution told the court that “when the deployment of that last cartridge was completely effective, causing Dalian Atkinson to experience neuromuscular incapacitation and fall to the ground, it was not reasonable to continue to depress the Taser for 33 seconds and in kicking Dalian Atkinson in the head not once but on two occasions.”
The jury was told two minutes into the ambulance journey his breathing ‘laboured’ but he was still breathing upon arrival to the hospital. He went into cardiac arrest whilst medics were waiting for the resuscitation bay to be opened. The court heard he had had a number of serious health issues. He had high blood pressure and heart disease – hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a disease in which the heart muscles become abnormally thick, which can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. He was suffering from end stage renal failure. He was receiving dialysis and had had an internal jugular line inserted for that purpose.”