Five police officers are facing investigation over the treatment of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams after she and her partner, Portuguese 400m runner Ricardo dos Santos, were pulled over in their car in a stop-and-search in west London on 4 July.
Williams, 26, a European and Commonwealth relay gold medallist, whose three-month-old son was also in the car at the time, says she and her partner were racially profiled by the police. Video footage of the incident, which was shared on Twitter by the couple’s coach, former Olympic champion Linford Christie, shows police telling Williams and dos Santos they were to be searched; Williams can be heard saying ‘My son is in the car.’ Williams and dos Santos were both handcuffed during the incident.
The Met referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after footage was widely shared.
The IOPC Regional Director, Sal Naseem said a 'threshold for a misconduct investigation' had been met.
Three days after the incident, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick told the Home Affairs Committee the Met had apologised to Williams and dos Santos, and she has asked for a review into handcuffing practices, which she said are not ‘routine’.
‘Yesterday, two of our officers spoke on our behalf to Ms Williams and I think all of us watching could empathise with someone stopped in a vehicle who has a young child in the back, who probably does not know exactly what’s going on, and who is subsequently found together with her partner not to be found carrying any illicit goods,’ Dame Cressida told MPs.
‘My senior officer has said “I’m sorry” to Ms Williams for the distress it has caused her. And I say that too. So if there are lessons to be learned from it, we will learn them,’ she said.
The Metropolitan Police alleged the vehicle had been driving suspiciously and on the wrong side of the road, and that the driver had failed to stop when asked. Williams and dos Santos deny this. Nothing was found in the search.
Linford Christie, who coaches both Williams and dos Santos, used Twitter to draw attention to the incident, stating, ‘This is not the first time this has happened (second time in two months) and I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or moralised any longer.’
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