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July 7, 2020

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British cops accused of racial profiling

British sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner have accused London police of racial profiling after officers stopped and searched the couple’s car, with their 3-month-old son inside.

Williams and Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese sprinter, are both black and were stopped in their Mercedes on Saturday afternoon. The 26-year-old Williams said Metropolitan Police “put out a fabricated report” about driving on the wrong side of the road.

“Time for change and for actions to have consequences,” Williams wrote on Sunday on her Instagram account. “Still incredibly hurt and shaken by my ordeal yesterday.”

“They say the UK isn’t racist,” Williams wrote in a Twitter post that linked to her response in The Times newspaper.

Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championship, told the newspaper that “it’s always the same thing” and that dos Santos has been pulled over many times.

“The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking. It was awful to watch,” Williams said.

Video of the incident has circulated on social media. A woman, who appeared to be recording the incident, says “he didn’t do anything” as the man exits the car. She is then pulled from the back seat. A female officer is heard saying they plan to search the car for weapons.

Williams told The Times that they plan to meet with a lawyer to consider legal action against the police.

The video was posted by British Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie, who is training both Williams and the 25-year-old dos Santos for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“Racist police aren’t just in America,” the 60-year-old Christie wrote on Twitter.

In a separate post, the former sprinter added: “Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it.”

Williams also posted the video to her Instagram account.

Metropolitan Police issued a statement that said nothing illegal was found and that no arrests were made.

It said the stop was made because the car was “driving suspiciously, including driving on the wrong side of the road” and because the driver sped off when directed to stop.

Officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards reviewed footage from social media and the officers’ body cameras.

“We are satisfied that there are no misconduct issues,” Commander Helen Harper said. “The officers were deployed to a high violence area of London and (because) 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,” Harper added.


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