West Mercia Police said that former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson was killed in Telfor by police after they tasered him. Atkinson was taken to a hospital, but suffered a cardiac arrest after undergoing medical treatment. He was pronounced dead at 3 a.m.
“West Mercia Police can confirm that officers responded to a report for the concern for the safety of an individual at approximately 1.30 am this morning at an address in Telford.
“Upon arrival Taser was deployed and a 48-year-old man, who subsequently received medical attention, was pronounced dead at approximately 3am.
“West Mercia Police are unable to comment any further as the incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as is normal procedure, and will assist the IPCC with their inquiries.”
As reported by Daily Mail, West Mercia Police officers had been alerted to a home in Telford at around 1:30 am amid concerns “for the safety of an individual.”
When they arrived at the house, a Taser was used on Dalian.
Neighbors went on Facebook to recount the incident, with one saying there had been a lot of shouting and police when the confrontation happened.
“I had known him since he was a little boy, he was a famous footballer at one time. He was friendly, he had no trouble that I know of,” said one neighbor who made a request not to be identified.
West Mercia Police announced that they are unable to divulge more information as the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as per usual protocol. The force said that it will address any inquiries the IPCC may have.
Dalian, 48, scored 38 goals in 114 appearances for Aston Villa. He is fondly remembered by fans for a goal he scored for 1992-1993 Aston Villa against Wimbledon. The goal was voted the best of the season.
His most career-defining moment as a footballer came in 1994 when he scored in the League Cup final win against Manchester United.
Atkinson started his football career with Ipswich and briefly played with Sheffield and Real Sociedad before joining Villa for £1.6 million in July 1991.
Between 1991 to 1995, Atkinson scored more than 20 Premier League goals for the Birmingham side. He also played for teams such as Turkish side Fenerbahce and Manchester City, albeit less successfully.
Atkinson ended his football career as a player for South Korea in 2001.
Ipswich Town paid tribute to the former Aston Villa striker on Twitter, writing, “Terribly sad news about our former striker. Our thoughts are with Dalian’s family and friends at this tragic time.’
Sheffield also went on Twitter Wednesday to pay tribute to one of their former players: “The thoughts of everyone at Wednesday are with the friends and family of Dalian Atkinson this morning. RIP.”
The Taser’s distinction as a “non-lethal” weapon has been thrown into question numerous times on account of Taser-related deaths all over the world. After Dalian Atkinson’s death, the conversation over the Taser’s status as a “non-lethal” weapon is likely to be brought up again, especially in light of ex-soldier Spencer Beynon’s death in June. Spencer was Tasered by police officers in Llanelli, Southwales after he stabbed a dog and then himself.
Friends of the former soldier said that he had suffered mental health problems since leaving the military.
As per statistics provided by the UK government’s official site, Taser-use among police slightly increased towards the end of 2015 with 10,329.
A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service recounted the incident from the time the ambulance was dispatched for Telford until Atkinson was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“An ambulance was dispatched and upon arrival found a man who had been Tasered.
As he was being conveyed to Princess Royal Hospital, his condition deteriorated and he went into cardiac arrest.
Despite the efforts of the crew and hospital staff, it was not possible to save him and he was confirmed dead at hospital, shortly after arrival.”
[Photo by Anton Want/Getty Images]