A Black Team GB sprinter has accused the Metropolitan Police of “racial profiling” after she and her partner were stopped and searched by officers in west London.
Bianca Williams, 26, a European and Commonwealth gold medallist, and Ricardo dos Santos, 25, the Portuguese record holder over 400m, were stopped and handcuffed while with their three-month-old baby on Saturday in Maida Vale.
Footage of the incident was shared widely after it was posted by former Olympic champion Linford Christie, who captioned the video with: “Racist police aren’t just in America #BLM”.
The video appears to show the pair - who are both Black - being aggressively pulled out of a car by officers. The distressed woman is heard repeatedly saying: “My son is in the car.”
Williams later described the incident as being “awful to watch”.
“It’s always the same thing with Ricardo,” she told The Times.
“They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis.
“It’s racial profiling. The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking. It was awful to watch.”
Dos Santos added he will meet with lawyers about the incident, and said he had been stopped by officers as many as 15 times since November 2017.
The Met Police have said after reviewing social media footage and video from bodyworn cameras of Saturday’s incident, that it had concluded there were no misconduct issues in relation to how the stop and search was carried out.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said a car was stopped in Lanhill Road, Maida Vale, on Saturday afternoon after it was seen driving suspiciously, and a 25-year-old man and 26-year-old woman were searched.
Commander Helen Harper said: “I understand the concern when incidents like this happen and how they can appear when part of it is filmed without context.
“Due to the concern raised, we conducted a review of the stop. This included social media footage and bodyworn camera footage of the officers at the scene.
“We are satisfied that there are no misconduct issues.
“The officers were deployed to a high-violence area of London and the manner of the driving raised suspicion. It is only right that they act on it. We are open to discussing the incident with the individuals involved if they wish to do so.”
In a second tweet, former Olympic medallist Christie - who trained both Williams and dos Santos - called on the Met chief, Cressida Dick, to justify the police officers’ conduct.
“Can Cressida Dick or anyone else please explain to me what justification the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over,” he wrote.
“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which lead to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test.”