A cop had kicked and fired an electric stun gun at Dalian Atkinson in 2016, and now UK police have apologized to the former footballer's family.

According to the The Guardian, the apology was issued after the officer was convicted over Atkinson's death. In June, West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk was convicted of manslaughter during the course of his duties. His conviction is believed to be the first time a British cop has been found guilty of manslaughter of a Black man, according to Inquest, a charity which helps the bereaved in cases of deaths involving the state, reported ABC News.

Monk had fired a stun gun at the former athlete for 33 seconds, which was six times longer than is standard, and then kicked him two times in the head. The kick had left a boot imprint on Atkinson's forehead and blood on the cop's shoe laces, the jury was told. In August 2016, cops had been called as the former Premier League star had a mental health crisis in the street right outside his dad’s house in Telford, Shropshire.

Atkinson's family had said that the case showed the need for change in the way cops and the criminal justice system treated black people, according to BBC. His family said that the apology from UK police after five years was overdue.

In September, Pippa Mills, a new chief constable, took over the West Mercia force. Mills wrote in her letter of apology, that a police uniform doesn't grant cops immunity to "abuse their powers" or behave unlawfully. According to her, Monk’s conduct was in "direct contradiction to the standards and behavior of the policing service, and understandably undermined public confidence.”

In the letter, it was accepted that the officer used unreasonable force when he kicked Atkinson in the head contributing to his death. It was also accepted by the police force that the former footballer's right to life that is protected under the European convention on human rights was breached as well.

Mills understood that his death was “devastating” for the family, and wrote that she cannot imagine the immense pain his family members have felt and "how the significant delays with the trial have also added to your burden of grief." She acknowledged their "great strength and dignity" that they demonstrated throughout the past five years. She pledged to learn lessons from Atkinson's death, and concluded her letter by saying that she was "deeply sorry for the devastating impact the actions of a West Mercia officer has caused you and I extend my deepest condolences.”

Kate Maynard, the solicitor for Atkinson’s family, said that the official apology to the family is "welcomed and overdue."

During Monk's sentencing earlier this year, it emerged that he had been found guilty by a police discipline tribunal of gross misconduct more than a decade ago, but he had been allowed to stay in the police force. The 43-year-old was dismissed from the police force after his manslaughter conviction and jail sentence for eight years.

File picture of Dalian Atkinson
1993: Portrait of Dalian Atkinson of Aston Villa. Anton Want/Allsport