British officer keeps job despite ‘gross misconduct’ at football star’s club
A british cop On Friday, she was allowed to keep her job after a disciplinary commission found her guilty of gross misconduct for illegally bludgeoning former professional football player Dalyan Atkinson, who died after another officer used a taser and kicked him in the head.
An independent police disciplinary tribunal issued a written warning to PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith after it found that she illegally bludgeoned a black former Aston Villa striker three times after he was subdued by her partner during an argument in August 2016.
An officer from West Mercia could be stripped of her badge by a commission convened at Telford after she had been acquitted in a criminal trial for causing bodily harm.
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Bettley-Smith’s behavior was “really serious,” but she was on the fringes of the event, and her partner’s role consisted of “several stages of varying degrees,” prosecutor Dijen Basu said at the hearing.
In 2021, Constable Benjamin Monk was sentenced to eight years in prison for manslaughter in assassination of atkinson.
Monk claimed self-defense and said he feared for his life after Atkinson threatened and smashed the glass door.
Monk used a stun gun on Atkinson for 33 seconds – more than six times longer than normal – and kicked him at least twice in the head, leaving lace marks on his forehead.
Police were called to Atkinson’s father’s Telford home in central England after neighbors reported riots.
The commission found that 33-year-old Bettley-Smith had originally used her club, legally, to hit Atkinson three times. But the strikes after Monk kicked him and brought him to the ground were “unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable under any circumstances and were therefore illegal.”
Bettley-Smith claimed she felt Atkinson trying to get up, although witnesses said he didn’t move.
Atkinson, 48, died about an hour later in the hospital.
Lawyer Patrick Gibbs, who represented Bettley-Smith, said the 6.5 years she had to contemplate that night “should be a severe punishment in itself.” According to him, her behavior before and after 27 seconds, when she landed the last three blows, was amazing.
“That includes miscalculating in the heat of the moment the amount of power that still needs to be used,” Gibbs said.
Atkinson’s sister said she was disappointed that Bettley-Smith hadn’t lost her job.
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“Our family was destroyed by it, absolutely destroyed,” she said of her brother’s death. “In the end, Dalian left and everything depends on these officers.”
In December 2021, the West Mercian Police Chief apologized to the Atkinson family, saying she was very sorry.
“Police uniforms do not give officers immunity from misconduct or abuse of their powers,” police chief Pippa Mills wrote.
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Condemnation of a monk was rare in Britain. A lawyer for the Atkinson family said it was the first time in more than 30 years that a serving officer had been convicted of manslaughter in connection with his duties.