British police officer sentenced to 8 years in jail for manslaughter

Benjamin Monk, 43, a British police officer with a history of misconduct, was today jailed for the manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson. Monk killed Atkinson by flooring him, tasing him until the device broke, then kicking him in the head. Sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, Monk must serve at least 5 years and 4 months before he can be paroled. The victim's family welcomed the sentence, toward the high end of expectations.

Passing sentence, Judge Melbourne Inman QC told Monk it "should have been obvious to you" the force used was excessive.

"It was when he was on the floor that you used force that was beyond reasonable," he said, adding Monk had "let [himself] and the force down".

"Although they were difficult, you failed to act appropriately in the circumstances as they developed," Judge Inman said. "The obvious aggravating factor is that you committed this offence while on duty as a police officer."

On one hand, it's the only British police officer convicted of manslaughter in more than 30 years, let alone murder, with the celebrity of his victim (a retired soccer star) vastly increasing public interest in the case. On the other hand, British police kill about 5 people a year, compared to 1000 or so in the U.S.