Forensic officers at the scene outside an address in Meadow Close.
A 48-year-old man who died after being tasered by police in Telford, Shropshire, was repeatedly kicked by officers who used the Taser on him "four or five times" after he had been apparently subdued, an eyewitness has alleged.
Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson was tasered by two officers outside his family's house on Meadow Close, Trench, at around 1:30am on Monday.
"He was staggering, and as he staggered towards them they opened fire with the Taser and he fell to the ground like a lead balloon," Paula Quinn, who lives opposite, told BuzzFeed News. "I could actually hear him hit the ground, and as he hit the ground the two officers just piled in on him and started kicking 10 bells out of him.
"That probably went on for a minute or two – it seemed quite long at the time, everything appeared to be happening in slow motion."
According to Quinn, one of the officers then told his colleague "back off, back off" before they ordered the man to put his hands behind his back. "But I don't think he was conscious," she said.
"They reactivated the Taser about four or five times on him while he was on the ground," she said. "I could see it very clearly – there was absolutely no threat to him whatsoever and I am absolutely shocked."
Quinn, who said she had a "birds-eye view" of the scene from her third-storey home across the street, said: “I don’t know if he was perhaps inebriated or something but he certainly wasn’t threatening.
“I can still hear the boots kicking him, I can still hear it. It makes me feel quite sick.”
The case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate.
West Mercia police declined to comment on Quinn's allegations when contacted by BuzzFeed News and directed all inquiries to the IPCC.
An IPCC spokesperson declined to comment on the allegations, but quoted its earlier statement: "The IPCC is conducting a full and thorough investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding his death including the use of force.”
In a later statement, the IPCC said its investigators had conducted house to house enquiries, and are gathering police logs and radio transmissions. Data from the taser has been downloaded and will be analysed.
“I would like to assure people that we have begun a full and thorough investigation into police contact with Dalian Atkinson prior to his death, including the level and type of force used," IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said. "Our investigation team have been securing and preserving relevant evidence, and identifying witnesses."
John Campion, West Mercia police and crime commissioner, said he was receiving regular updates and added that it was an "important part of my role to hold the police to account". He continued: “I want to be absolutely clear and reassure our communities that I will be doing that fairly and proportionately."
In an statement on Monday morning, West Mercia police confirmed officers were called to Meadow Close at around 1:30am in response to "concern for the safety of an individual". They said a man was pronounced dead at 3am. A postmortem is due to be carried out later this week, according to the IPCC.
Companies House records show that the former Villa and Manchester City striker has a property registered in his name on Meadow Close.
A spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed to BuzzFeed News that a 48-year-old had received medical attention at that address, dying roughly 90 minutes after he first received treatment.
“As he was being conveyed to Princess Royal Hospital, his condition deteriorated and he went into cardiac arrest," a statement from the ambulance service said.
“Despite the efforts of the crew and hospital staff, it was not possible to save him and he was confirmed dead at hospital, shortly after arrival.”
Following Atkinson's death, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK said: "Black people are three times more likely to have Tasers used against them in the UK today."
"While we welcome an independent investigation of Dalian’s death, we note that there have now been 1,565 deaths following contact with the police in England and Wales since 1990 but no convictions," they said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
On Twitter, Atkinson's former teammates said the news was "devastating".
Atkinson's first professional club, Ipswich Town, also tweeted their condolences.
Atkinson's first break in football came when he was signed to Ipswich Town as a teenager – he went on to score more than 18 goals over four years at the club. He briefly moved to Real Sociedad in Spain, becoming the club's first black player, in 1991.
Later that year he was signed to Aston Villa, where he stayed for four years. His time at Aston Villa is fondly remembered by fans, most notably for his crucial goal in the 1994 League Cup final win against Manchester United.
He retired from football in 2001 and is believed to have run a sports consultancy firm for players, agents, and clubs.
Figures released by the Home Office last year to the BBC demonstrated that black people were three times more likely to be tasered than white people. More than 12% of incidents involved black people – despite them only making up 4% of the population. The figures ran from 2010-15, and showed police officers used Tasers 38,135 times during that period.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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