Atkinson, a former striker for English Premier League football team Aston Villa, went into cardiac arrest after officers tasered him in Telford, central England, in August 2016.
The court heard that police officer Benjamin Monk tasered Atkinson for 33 seconds – more than six times the recommended time – and kicked him twice while lying on the ground.
Paramedics were unable to save Atkinson and he died approximately 90 minutes later.
Monk denied any wrongdoing and said he believed there was a danger to his life and that of his colleague, the court spokesman confirmed to CNN.
Monk’s conviction marks the first time in 35 years that a police officer has been convicted of murder or manslaughter following a death involving contact with police or in custody.
He told court that Atkinson, 48, appeared to be having a mental health crisis, made death threats and smashed a door window at his childhood home in Telford, the PA Media news agency reported .
Monk said Atkinson was trying to get up when he kicked him in the shoulder in self-defense after running out of Taser cartridges, according to PA. But prosecutors said the officer lied about the number of kicks he gave to Atkinson’s head, saying he could only remember one point on his shoulder, he reported. PA.
Monk also claimed to have no recollection of setting foot on Atkinson’s head when authorities arrived at the scene, the outlet reported.
During his 16-year career, Atkinson also played for Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday in England as well as for teams from the Spanish, Turkish and South Korean leagues.
A particularly talented player, Atkinson scored a spectacular goal against Wimbledon in December 1992, which the BBC’s “Match of the Day” program called the goal of the 1992-1993 season.
“Dalian Atkinson is sadly missed by all his family and friends and the football communities of the clubs he played for during his long and successful professional football career, especially Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa,” said Atkinson’s family said in a statement. following the verdict.
“Dalian’s footballing talent has led him to achieve great things in his life. Our sincere hope is that now that the truth about his death is known and that justice has been served, we can begin to remember him not for the way he died, but for the way he lived ”, continues the press release.
Sentencing will take place on Monday, PA reported. The court is still deliberating on a charge of assaulting another police officer.
CNN’s Lianne Kolirin contributed reporting.