Two officers could face charges over former Ipswich Town star’s death
- Credit: Archant
Two police officers could face court action relating to the death of former Ipswich Town striker Dalian Atkinson.
The retired 48-year-old, who played for Ipswich in the 1980s, died after being shot with a police Taser during an incident in Telford, Shropshire in 2016.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it has referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Prosecutors will now consider potential criminal charges against the two officers in question.
Mr Atkinson played for Ipswich Town between 1985 and 1989, scoring 18 goals in 60 appearances before leaving for Sheffield Wednesday.
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Relatives said he was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when a Taser was deployed by West Mercia Police in August 2016.
He died 90 minutes later despite doctors carrying out CPR for more than half an hour to try and save him.
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The IOPC said three West Mercia Police officers were interviewed twice under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices following Mr Atkinson’s death. It confirmed the actions of the third officer have not been referred to the CPS.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the watchdog said its investigation gathered evidence which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force.
At the time, West Mercia Police said officers were called amid concerns “for the safety of an individual”.
The IOPC’s regional director, Derrick Campbell, said: “On the basis of the evidence gathered I have decided to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential criminal charges over the interaction two police officers had with Dalian Atkinson.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and I am grateful for the patience shown by all concerned.
“We have kept West Mercia Police, Dalian’s family, and HM Coroner informed during the course of the investigation.”
Mr Atkinson’s siblings described him as a “kind, caring and protective brother”.
“He always brought life and energy to family gatherings – when Dalian turned up, we knew there would be laughter and banter,” they said in a statement issued after his death.