Former UK football star dies after police tasering
Dalian Atkinson, the former English Premier League football star who played for Aston Villa and Spanish club Real Sociedad, died on Monday after being Tasered by English police, his father told British media.
Police confirmed that officers were called to an address in Telford, western England, at around 1:30am (0030 GMT).
“Upon arrival Taser was deployed and a 48-year-old man, who subsequently received medical attention, was pronounced dead at approximately 3:00am,” said a police statement.
Neighbours said the address was the home of Atkinson’s 85-year-old father Ernest.
“He got Tasered in the street,” media cited Ernest Atkinson as saying.
“He was in a real state. I don’t know if he was drunk or on drugs but he was very agitated and his mind was upset,” he added.
“He was threatening and very upset. I didn’t call the police but someone else did.”
Neighbours reported that there had been “banging and shouting, and doors being kicked in” before police arrived, and that “Dalian was shouting about being homeless”.
The ambulance service said Atkinson went into cardiac arrest as he was being taken to the town’s Princess Royal Hospital.
The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission watchdog, and is likely to trigger a debate about police use of electronic stun guns.
Soldier Spencer Beynon died in June after being Tasered by police in Llanelli, south Wales, after stabbing a dog and then himself.
There were 10,329 incidents involving police Tasers in 2015, a two percent rise on the previous year, but they were only discharged on 1,921 of those occasions, an annual decrease of three percent.
Atkinson, 48, began his career at Ipswich Town, before moving to Sheffield Wednesday in 1989, where he made a name as a pacy and skilful striker despite the club’s relegation.
He then moved to Real Sociedad, scoring 12 goals in one season before returning to England to play for Aston Villa.
Atkinson scored the club’s first ever goal in the Premier League on August 15, 1992, and won the inaugural competition’s goal-of-the-season competition as Villa finished second in the division.
He also scored the opening goal of the 1994 League Cup final as Villa beat Manchester United. He later played in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
Aston Villa tweeted a picture of the striker, along with the words “RIP Dalian Atkinson. You’ll never be forgotten!”
Sheffield Wednesday tweeted that “the thoughts of everyone at Wednesday are with the friends and family of Dalian Atkinson”.
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