Dalian Atkinson died in 2016 after being tasered near his father’s home in Telford.
A police constable has appeared in Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on the 7th November, alongside a colleague who been accused of assault causing actual bodily harm, and was charged with the former footballer’s murder.
Relatives of Atkinson said that he was suffering from a number of health issues and had a weak heart when the taser was deployed in the early hours of the 15th August 2016. He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to save him.
Both officers from West Mercia appeared before a deputy district judge and were not asked their names, addresses or dates of birth. Instead, they were referred to in court as Constables A and B.
Constable B indicated a not guilty plea to her charge of assault and was granted bail to appear in Birmingham Crown Court later on in the day. Officer A was remanded in custody to appear at the same hearing and was not asked to indicate a plea.
The Crown Prosecution Service said in statement earlier on Thursday: “Following the death of Dalian Atkinson in Telford on 15th August 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised a charge of murder against a West Mercia police constable.
“This decision was made following a careful review of all the evidence presented to us by the Independent Office for Police Conduct following an investigation.”
The officer charged with murder has also been charged with unlawful act manslaughter as alternative offence which, the Crown Prosecution Service said, “is a lesser offence that a jury may consider if it first finds that the more serious charge has not been proved.”
Speaking on behalf of Atkinson’s family, solicitor, Kate Maynard, of Hickman and Rose, said: “Dalian’s family welcomes the decision to put the conduct of police officers before a jury but regrets that already more than three years have passed since Dalian died.
“They ask for their privacy to be respected and press for the criminal proceedings to progress without delay or obstruction.”