This week saw the death of 48 year old retired Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson at the hands of the police force.
And new details are beginning to emerge about what really happened when Atkinson’s father called the police to inform them that his son was agitated and he did not know whether he had taken “drugs or alcohol.” How could he have anticipated that a call to the the law for help would end up with the death of his own son? Yet it did, as police seem to have allegedly kicked Mr Atkinson while attempting to restrain or arrest him, according to a neighbour.
Atkinson was said to be unwell at the time of his arrest; it has come out that he was due to have dialysis for a kidney problem just days after his unfortunate death.
He also suffered from a weak heart - and this is where the use of tasering and excessive force from police in the UK comes into question. Of course this problem exists in the US too but let’s take a look at the stats and issues with tasering in Britain.
An issue often raised by members of the public about the use of tasering is that it can be useful to get someone down without physically attacking or holding them down with great force but for those who have real health issues it’s use can be deadly. Pacemaker users, epileptics, those with weak hearts. It has been reported in America that over 500 people have been killed by tasering. Back in 2014 tasers were used more than 5000 times in the first 6 months of the year.An investigation into the use of tasers by the Guardian in 2012 found that many officers direct the electro-shock device directly at the chest of civillians. The manufacturer has warned against the use of tasers due to the risk they pose to people - possibly resulting in their death. Lawyer, Sophie Khan says the use of tasers following Atkinson’s death is “unacceptable.” A witness said that the police started “kicking ten bells out of him.” It was also reported to Channel 4 News that it took 15 minutes for an ambulance to be called.
Cases like Dalian Atkinson’s death - which is now under investigation need to be looked at by the police in order to review their use of arms to detain people.
By Laura Hackshaw.