A police officer who unlawfully killed Dalian Atkinson by tasering him to the ground and kicking him in the head has been jailed for eight years.PC Benjamin Monk, 43, discharged his taser three times and kicked him twice in the head, leaving bootlace prints on his forehead, his trial heard.
The former Aston Villa striker died after the 2016 stand-off outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire. Jurors cleared Monk of an alternative charge of murder on 23 June. He will serve two-thirds of his sentence before being entitled to release on licence.
This is a guest post by Harmit Kambo, Campaigns Director, Privacy International
Imagine going to a peaceful protest and having to show your ID to the police before you can join it. Or having to fill out a form about why you are attending that particular protest. Sounds absurd, right? Surely we should all be free to protest, without the police knowing who we are?
But high tech surveillance of protests is real, and it enables the police to identify, monitor and track protestors, indiscriminately and at scale.
For example, your face is increasingly becoming your ID card with the rapid development of facial recognition technology and its deployment at protests.
The role of the police in western society is beginning to be understood and challenged in ways that were inconceivable only a decade ago. The belief in ‘law and order’ and the infallibility of the police – or at least their role as a force for moral good in a system designed to uphold basic rights was deeply held.
But the deluge of state violence now routinely witnessed and shared has fatally undermined that belief system and exposed as being based on a set of myths. ‘Policing by consensus’ – the idea that you can only police a society if a level of good relations is maintained is under threat and new radical notions of abolishing the police system as we understand it are emerging.
How did this happen?
Police forces in the US and Europe work in different social contexts, with different histories and different gun laws, but for many years now people have witnessed and shared police violence and gained an insight into how they operate.