West Mercia Police officer acquitted of assault on Dalian Atkinson
A West Mercia Police officer has been acquitted today of assault causing actual bodily harm on Dalian Atkinson, following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A jury found PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith not guilty of assaulting Mr Atkinson on 15 August 2016, at the end of a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
At a trial last year PC Benjamin Monk was convicted of unlawful act manslaughter for the death of Dalian Atkinson and sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. The jury was unable to reach a verdict in respect of the assault charge against PC Bettley-Smith.
IOPC regional director, Derrick Campbell, said:
“As part of our detailed investigation into the tragic events of 15 August 2016 we carefully examined the nature and level of force used by PC Bettley-Smith and whether it was in line with national policies and guidelines. Police officers are given extraordinary powers to use force, and the way they use force must be reasonable and proportionate.
“We analysed the sequence of baton strikes by PC Bettley-Smith to Mr Atkinson’s body when he was lying on the ground after he had been Tasered. After we presented our evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service it authorised the charge of actual bodily harm. It was important that the officer’s actions were brought before a court and the jury has now made its decision.
“I would again send my heartfelt condolences to Dalian’s family who have had to wait patiently for a long time for justice to fully take its course.”
At the end of our investigation, we shared our investigation report with West Mercia Police along with our view that PC Bettley-Smith should also face a gross misconduct hearing over her use of force. Now the trial is concluded we will be liaising with West Mercia Police about next steps regarding any potential disciplinary proceedings.