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Sprinters complain at ‘racial profiling’ after Maida Vale police stop video goes viral

PUBLISHED: 12:09 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:09 06 July 2020

Bianca Williams, right, with teammate Asha Philip at the 2018 European Athletics Championships. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

Bianca Williams, right, with teammate Asha Philip at the 2018 European Athletics Championships. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Two top sprinters have slammed the Met Police after their vehicle was pulled over and stopped and searched in Maida Vale this weekend.

Bianca Williams, a British Olympian, and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos – a Portuguese sprinter – were driving through W9 on their way back to their Barnes home when a police vehicle puled them over.

Bianca, who is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, accused the Met of “racial profiling” and said it had been “awful to watch”.

Speaking to the Times, she said: “It’s always the same thing with Ricardo. They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis.”

READ MORE: Councillor calls for Haringey’s own review into Covid-19 impact on BAME communities – and demands Met Police improves

She added: “It’s racial profiling.”

Footage of the incident was shared widely on Twitter after being posted by former Olympic champ – and the athelete’s coach – Linford Christie. Mr Christie posted with the tags “#BLM” and “#MetPoliceRacist”.

In response, Scotland Yard said cops had stopped a vehicle “a vehicle with blacked out windows that was driving suspiciously, including driving on the wrong side of the road”, and which “failed” to stop when asked and “made off at speed”.

Ms Williams has refuted the suggestion that they were on the wrong side of the road, and the couple is now planning legal action.

The clip shared by Mr Christie appeared to show two people - a man and a woman - being pulled out of a car.

The woman, Ms Williams says “he didn’t do anything” and officers can later be heard telling the woman to calm down after she worries about her son remaining in the car.

In a statement, the former Olympic 100-metre champion Mr Christie said: “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.”

Scotland Yard said officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards have reviewed video and were satisfied there was no concern around the officers’ conduct.

Central West BCU 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.”

She added she was “satisfied that there are no misconduct issues”.


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