World News

British officer retains job regardless of ‘gross misconduct’ in soccer star’s clubbing

A British police officer was allowed to maintain her job Friday after a disciplinary panel discovered her responsible of gross misconduct for unlawfully clubbing former skilled soccer participant Dalian Atkinson, who died after one other officer used a stun gun and kicked him within the head.

An unbiased police disciplinary tribunal gave constable Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith a written warning after discovering she unlawfully struck the Black former Aston Villa striker thrice together with her baton after he was subdued by her associate throughout an altercation in August 2016.

The West Mercia officer might have been stripped of her badge by the panel that was convened in Telford after she was acquitted at a felony trial of inflicting bodily hurt.


Bettley-Smith’s conduct was “certainly severe” however she was on the periphery of the occasion and her associate’s function was “a number of levels of magnitude completely different,” prosecutor Dijen Basu mentioned on the listening to.

Constable Benjamin Monk was sentenced in 2021 to eight years in jail for manslaughter within the killing of Atkinson.

Monk claimed self-defense and mentioned he feared for his life after Atkinson made threats and smashed a glass door pane.

Monk used a Taser on Atkinson for 33 seconds — greater than six instances longer than was customary — and kicked him at the very least twice within the head, leaving bootlace marks on his brow.

Police had been referred to as to the Telford house of Atkinson’s father in central England after neighbors reported disturbances.

British police officer Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith was permitted to keep her job Friday after being issued a written warning for her role in a fatal encounter with former soccer star Dalian Atkinson.

British police officer Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith was permitted to maintain her job Friday after being issued a written warning for her function in a deadly encounter with former soccer star Dalian Atkinson. (Jacob King/PA through AP, File)

The panel discovered Bettley-Smith, 33, initially used her baton lawfully to strike Atkinson thrice. But the blows after he had been kicked by Monk and was on the bottom had been “pointless, disproportionate and unreasonable in all of the circumstances and had been subsequently illegal.”

Bettley-Smith claimed she perceived Atkinson was making an attempt to rise up, although witnesses mentioned he wasn’t transferring.

Atkinson, 48, died about an hour later in a hospital.

Attorney Patrick Gibbs, who represented Bettley-Smith, mentioned that the 6 1/2 years she’s needed to mirror on that night time “should be a big punishment in itself.” Her conduct earlier than and after the 27 seconds when she delivered the ultimate three blows had been admirable, he mentioned.

“This includes a miscalculation within the warmth of second within the diploma of pressure which nonetheless now wanted for use,” Gibbs mentioned.

Atkinson’s sister mentioned she was disenchanted Bettley-Smith did not lose her job.


“Our household has been shattered by it, completely shattered,” she mentioned of her brother’s loss of life. “At the tip of the day, Dalian’s gone and it’s all the way down to these officers.”

In December 2021 the chief of the West Mercia police pressure apologized to Atkinson’s household, saying she was deeply sorry.

“A police uniform doesn’t grant officers immunity to behave unlawfully or to abuse their powers,” chief Pippa Mills wrote.

Monk’s conviction was a rarity in Britain. A lawyer for Atkinson’s household mentioned it was the primary time in over 30 years {that a} serving officer was convicted on a manslaughter cost in reference to their duties.

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