Police Officer Faces Sack For Using Excessive Force Against Dalian Atkinson

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Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith of West Mercia police found guilty of gross misconduct by disciplinary panel

A police constable faces the sack after being found guilty of gross misconduct for using excessive force against ex-Aston Villa player Dalian.

48-year-old Atkinson, died after being kicked at least twice in the head by West Mercia Police officer Benjamin Monk outside his father's home in Telford, Shropshire, in August 15, 2016.

An independent tribunal on Friday found that Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, a West Mercia police officer, acted wrongly when she struck Dalian Atkinson three times with her police-issue baton during an incident in the early hours of 15 August 2016.

After Atkinson was Tasered and kicked in the head by Monk, Bettley-Smith used her baton on him, claiming she “perceived” he was trying to get up, although several civilian witnesses said the 48-year-old was not moving and “was not resistant”

Monk was jailed for eight years in 2021 after his conviction at Birmingham crown court for manslaughter.

Bettley-Smith was cleared of assaulting Atkinson after a trial but the Independent Office for Police Conduct found there was a gross misconduct disciplinary case to answer for her use of force.

While the panel found that three initial strikes – before Monk’s kicks – were “lawful”, it found that Bettley-Smith’s decision to then hit Atkinson another three times, after police backup arrived, was “unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable in all the circumstances and therefore unlawful”.

The panel is due to hear evidence later on Friday on whether Bettley-Smith, 33, who was a probationary officer at the time of the incident, should be allowed to keep her job or face a lesser sanction.