A police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel of using excessive force after they repeatedly hit former Aston Villa player Dalian Atkinson. 

The tribunal found that West Mercia officer Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith acted wrongly when she hit Dalian Atkinson three times during an incident on 15 August 2016. 

After the incident, which occurred outside his father’s home, the former striker died after being kicked at least twice in the head by PC Bettley-Smith’s colleague, PC Benjamin Monk.

Before being kicked, Mr Atkinson had been tasered to the ground whereupon PC Bettley-Smith, used her police baton. She claimed she “perceived” he was trying to get up. Witnesses said the former player was not moving and “not resistant”. 

The tribunal found three initial strikes before Mr Atkinson was kicked was “lawful”, but found PC Bettley-Smith’s decision to hit him a further three times was “unnecessary, disproportionate and unreasonable”.

The panel is set to hear evidence on whether the officer should be allowed to keep her job or face a lesser sanction.

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