A justice campaigner who organised a street protest following the manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson has criticised the eight-year prison sentence given to his killer as too short.
Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, of the Justice 4 All Coalition, said he believed that a sentence of between 10 to 15 years would have been more appropriate for West Mercia Police officer Pc Benjamin Monk.
Pc Monk was jailed for eight years by the Recorder for Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman QC on Tuesday following a six-week trial during which jurors heard that the Telford-based officer had used excessive force in dealing with the retired footballer.
Responding to the sentence Mr Jaddoo said: “The court sentencing of only eight years imprisonment for Pc Monk is an injustice in itself by the trial judge as clearly the jury made their decision that he was responsible for the death of Dalian Atkinson.
“I do believe that a sentence minimum 10 to 15 years would have been more appropriate, taking into account the position of responsibility that Pc Monk was in to safeguard Dalian.
“Instead he subjected him to extensive Taser and also violence by kicking him in his head. Yet again we have to ask ourselves a simple question – do black lives really matter?”
Pc Benjamin Monk, 43, was last week cleared of the ex-Aston Villa player’s murder but convicted of his manslaughter following a trial which heard he Tasered him with an excessive 33-second deployment of the weapon, and then kicked him at least twice in the head as he lay collapsed on the ground.
The kicks left two bootlace imprints on the former Premier League star’s forehead.
Mr Atkinson, 48, was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after the incident with the constable and his colleague Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith outside his childhood home, in Meadow Close, Trench, on August 15, 2016.
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, said: “For decades black men, and those in mental health crisis, have disproportionately died following use of force by police. Since Dalian’s death the roll-out and use of Tasers by police has risen significantly, despite the well-known risks these weapons pose.
“As footballers take the knee, we see the reality of structural and institutional racism and the appalling consequences it has in the UK. We hope they remember the life of Dalian Atkinson and others who have died as the result of state violence.”
Bettley-Smith, 31,who was in a relationship with Monk at the time of Mr Atkinson’s death, was accused of assault, but the jury was discharged after failing to reach a verdict. A decision is yet to be be taken over whether she will face a retrial.