Dalian Atkinson; tragic murder and evidence for why we have more work to do on race equality- Savannah Collis

On August 15th, 2016, former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson was murdered by two police officers in what was an initial noise complaint which resulted in an unnecessary brutal and violent act of power abuse. Atkinson was reported by a concerned neighbour for making a bit of noise outside his father’s house, at the time he was also suffering from kidney disease. 

Pc Monk and Pc Bettley-Smith arrived at the scene and took things in a violent and destructive turn. Atkinson was tasered by Pc Monk, the taser was in use on Atkinson for 33 seconds which is over six times the length of a standard tase. This act alone is excessive and inexcusable however Pc Monk then proceeded to barbarically kick Atkinson in the head, so extensively that it left the imprint of his shoelace on Dalian Atkinson’s head. When backup officers arrived at the scene it was reported that Pc Monk had his foot rested on Atkinson’s head. Atkinson was taken to hospital where he unfortunately went into cardiac arrest and sadly passed. 

The true sadness of the whole matter is that it takes tragic and awful events such as those that took place here for people to listen, pay attention and realise change is needed. In terms of fighting for equality we have most definitely come a long way, and this cannot be ignored however incidents like this are a gruesome reminder that we have much more left to do. Despite this event occurring in 2016, still in 2021 we have more to do in the fight for those with different skin colours to have the same respect and treatment as everyone else. 

Skin colour. Forgetting cultural differences for a moment, skin colour. The barrier between treating people humanly and ignorance, which is so devastating. Sadly, there is no one single solution in tackling issues like this and I don’t have the answers either but getting conversations about what we can do are so important. People can be educated, and they can learn; providing they are willing, so it is everyone’s duty to teach and continue to learn. 

Dalian Atkinson’s death could have been so easily avoided even if he was tasered, if he was tasered appropriately and not savagely turned into a kickboxing bag he could have survived. Atkinson played for Ipswich town, Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad and more commonly known for playing with Aston Villa. He was a striker with a good career, he scored 36 goals in 114 of his Aston Villa appearances until he was injured. He retired in 1999 where he then set up a sports consultancy company in the Midlands. 

If you feel affected by any of the content of this article, then talk to someone about it. If you want to raise any conversation or issues etc surrounding race or other forms of discrimination then get in contact with the Equality and Diversity committee.

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