Met Police accused of racism in athlete stop and search row

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Metropolitan Police has defended a stop and search incident after officers were accused of racism by Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese 400m sprinter, were stopped in west London on Saturday.

Footage of the incident was shared widely on Twitter after being posted by former Olympic medallist Linford Christie, who questioned why the vehicle had been stopped.

Scotland Yard has said a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were searched when a car was stopped in Lanhill Road, Maida Vale, on Saturday afternoon.

The force said the vehicle was stopped after it was seen driving suspiciously, including on the wrong side of the road, and that the driver had sped off when asked to stop.

It added that following a search, nothing was found and no arrests were made.

Ms Williams tweeted that the police had issued a “fabricated report”.

She told the Times: “It’s always the same thing with Ricardo. 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.”

The Met’s Helen Harper said a review of the stop was conducted and found no misconduct.

She said: “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.”

Retired officer Chris Hobbs told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the police should release their footage for people to decide whether the incident was race-related.

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