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British police apologize for murder of former footballer

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British police apologize for murder of former footballer

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LONDON –

A UK police chief has written to apologize to the family of former professional footballer Dalian Atkinson, who died after a policeman used a stun gun on him and kicked him in the head.

In June, Constable Benjamin Monk was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison for the 2016 death of Atkinson, 48.

The former Aston Villa striker died in a hospital shortly after his arrest in Telford, central England. Atkinson, who appeared to be suffering from a mental health crisis at the time, was subdued by police using a stun gun.

Prosecutors said Monk used the stun gun against Atkinson for 33 seconds, more than six times longer than the norm, and kicked him at least twice in the head.

In a letter, Pippa Mills, the new West Mercia Police Chief, said she was “deeply sorry” for Monk’s actions.

“A police uniform does not grant officers immunity to behave in an unlawful manner or to abuse their powers,” she wrote.

Family lawyer Kate Maynard said in a statement that the official apology was “welcome and expected”.

The charity inquiry, which supports those bereaved in death cases involving the state, said Monk’s conviction would be the first time a British police officer has been convicted of the manslaughter of a black man.

It is extremely rare for UK police to be convicted of manslaughter or murder for deaths in custody or during contact with the public. Maynard said Monk’s conviction was the first of an serving officer on a charge of manslaughter in the course of his police duties in more than 30 years.

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