The police officer who Tasered ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson was not wearing a body camera to record the incident, investigators have said.
The former Aston Villa striker, 48, died around 90 minutes after being Tasered in an incident with two officers in Telford, Shropshire, at around 1.30am on Monday outside his father’s home.
Officers were called to a home amid concerns “for the safety of an individual”. His father, Ernest, said his son had been “in a real state” and his family said he had been battling kidney problems and had a weak heart.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the incident, said none of the relevant officers were wearing body worn video cameras.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said:
“I would like to assure people that we have begun a full and thorough investigation into police contact with Dalian Atkinson prior to his death, including the level and type of force used.
“Our investigation team have been securing and preserving relevant evidence, and identifying witnesses. Investigators have met Mr Atkinson’s immediate family to explain our role and we have appointed a family liaison manager to keep them updated.
“My thoughts are with Mr Atkinson’s family and friends, and all those affected, at this difficult time.”
Witnesses have said officers deployed a stun gun “multiple times”. The IPCC said it had instigated a “thorough examination”, and detailled what it knew:
“West Mercia Police were called to a property in Meadow Close, Trench, at around 1.30am today (Mon 15 August 2016). Two police officers initially attended the address and whilst in contact with Mr Atkinson outside the property one of the officers discharged a Taser. Further police officers then arrived. Mr Atkinson became unwell and an ambulance was called. He was treated at the scene and taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead.”
Atkinson’s father described the moments before his son was Tasered.
Ernest Atkinson said his son was “very agitated” and “upset” before someone called police, the Birmingham Mail reports.
The 85-year-old said: “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.
“The last thing he said to me was ‘don’t move’ when the police came to the door.
“He was threatening and very upset. I didn’t call the police but someone else did.”
His heartbroken father said he did not see his son get tasered, but he “saw a flash”. He added: “I haven’t had any sleep and cannot take it in.”
Neighbour Paula Quinn witnessed the moment Atkinson was tasered by police officers.
The eyewitness said she was in her home when she heard shouting at about 1.30am outside.
When she looked out onto the street, she saw two police officers and a man having “loud discussions”, she said.
“Then the police officers shouted something about the Taser, that he would deploy the Taser, but because the gentleman was still stumbling forward, he deployed the Taser anyway.
“And then the gentleman just dropped like a lead balloon and landed straight on the floor,” Quinn told Sky News.