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Officer to keep job despite beating ex-Premier League star and Tasering him before death

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A police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel after she repeatedly struck former Premier League footballer Dalian Atkinson after he had been tasered to the ground

A police constable has been found guilty of gross misconduct and using excessive force by a disciplinary panel after she repeatedly hit a former Premier League footballer with her baton after he had been tasered to the ground.

Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 33, was today found by an independent tribunal to have struck Dalian Atkinson three times with her police-issue baton during an incident in the early hours of August 15, 2016.

The former footballer, who played for the likes of Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday among others, died following the incident.

Mr Atkinson was also being kicked at least twice in the head by Ms Bettley-Smith’s colleague PC Benjamin Monk.

Her account of the incident conflicted with witnesses as she said she used her baton in response to Mr Atkinson attempting to get up off the ground

Witnesses instead said that the former footballer was “not moving” and “was not resistant”.

Monk was convicted of manslaughter at Birmingham Crown Court in 2021 and then sentenced to eight years behind bars.

Ms Bettley-Smith was cleared of assaulting Mr Atkinson following a trial, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) found there was a gross misconduct disciplinary case to answer for her use of force.

While the panel found three initial strikes – before Monk’s kicks – were “lawful”, it found Bettley-Smith’s decision to then hit Mr Atkinson another three times, after police back-up arrived, were “unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable in all the circumstances and therefore unlawful”.

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The panel later heard evidence on the 33-year-old, who was a probationary officer at the time of the incident, and whether she should be allowed to keep her job or face a lesser sanction.

It was decided that Ms Bettley-Smith would keep her job despite being found guilty of gross misconduct by using excessive force.

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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