Two police officers could face criminal charges in connection with the death of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson.
The West Mercia Police officers were interviewed twice under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices following Mr Atkinson’s death in August 2016, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said.
The 48-year-old, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, died after police used a Taser during an incident at his father’s house in Telford.
The IOPC said the officers were called to “detain Mr Atkinson outside” the address.
The West Mercia force have also been sent an IOPC investigation report to determine whether or not disciplinary proceedings are needed.
The watchdog’s regional director, Derrick Campbell, said: “On the basis of the evidence gathered I have decided to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential criminal charges over the interaction two police officers had with Dalian Atkinson.
“This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and I am grateful for the patience shown by all concerned.
“We have kept West Mercia Police, Dalian’s family, and HM Coroner informed during the course of the investigation.”
Relatives said Mr Atkinson was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when a Taser was used on him.
He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to save him.
In its statement, the IOPC said its investigation gathered evidence which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force.
Mr Atkinson’s siblings said in a statement: “Dalian grew to be a kind, caring and protective brother, with a lively personality: he was funny and cheeky. He always brought life and energy to family gatherings – when Dalian turned up, we knew there would be laughter and banter.”
Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans of West Mercia Police said: “West Mercia Police fully co-operated with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) throughout their independent investigation into the death of Dalian Atkinson and continues to do so.
“Mr Atkinson tragically died in the early hours of Monday 15 August 2016 in Telford after a Taser was deployed whilst police responded to an incident in Meadow Road, Trench. The incident was referred to the IOPC, as is mandatory with any death following police contact.
“West Mercia Police is aware of the IOPC decision to refer two officers to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for potential criminal offences following its investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Atkinson.”
In a statement issued after the report, Dalian Atkinson’s family said: “It’s been a long, frustrating and difficult process over the last two years, watching the investigation take its course and awaiting answers as to how our brother died.
“We still don’t know all the details even now, and look forward to the time when everything is in the public domain.”