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Urgent review of police use of Tasers

This petition had 67,274 supporters


This week former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson died after being Tasered repeatedly by the police. The reasons for being tasered are unclear but we know now that Atkinson suffered from a weak heart and mental health problems.

As a black man, a father of three growing boys and a campaigner against the abuse of power by police officers, I was appalled and frightened to hear this news. If this can happen to a former Premiership footballer, then it could happen to me or my children.

Atkinson’s death is the eleventh linked to the use of Tasers by the police in this country. What is more worrying is that black people are three times more likely have a taser used against them by police than white people, according to figures by the Home Office.

This is a testimony of a witness when Atkinson was killed;

"They were shouting and kicking so much all I could hear were the boots hitting him. And then the officer who released the Taser stepped back while the other officer still continued to kick and then I could hear him shout to the other officer that was still kicking, 'Back off, back off, back off.' And then the officer with the Taser asked the gentleman to put his hands behind his back and did so probably two or three times and reactivated the Taser another four or five times after that. [1] "

This incident has called into question the training and understanding on the use of Tasers within our police force and the fatal consequences of institutional racism. Police forces should be upholding the law and protecting people, not causing their deaths.

Theresa May, when Home Secretary, had previously raised concerns about the use of tasers. Now as Prime Minister she should take immediate action.

So I am calling on Theresa May to hold an urgent review of Tasers and the medical implications of their use. We ask the government to assess where other non-lethal weapons would be more effective and prevent unnecessary deaths in the future.

[1] BBC News: Dalian Atkinson dies after being Tasered in Telford by police 



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