Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams has accused London’s Metropolitan Police of “racial profiling” after she and her partner were stopped and searched while driving in Britain’s capital on Saturday.
Williams had been in the west London neighborhood of Maida Vale with her partner, Portuguese 400m record holder Ricardo dos Santos, and their three-month-old son when they were stopped by police.
Footage of the incident, which was posted on social media by the pair’s trainer and Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie, appears to show two people — although their faces aren’t visible — being pulled out of a car.
When asked to step outside the car by a police officer, a man is heard asking “For what?”
Once out of the car, two other officers approach the woman who tells them “he didn’t do anything.”
The woman grows increasingly distressed and shouts: “My son is in the car […] I don’t want you to look after him.” Officers tell her to “relax” and “get out of the car.”
Christie later posted a message on social media referring to the incident: “Two of my Athletes were stopped by the police today, both International athletes, both parents of a three- month old baby who was with them & both handcuffed outside of their home […] Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation & finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test.”
“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,” Williams told The Times of London newspaper. “The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking.”
A Metropolitan police statement on Sunday said a car had been stopped in the W9 area on Saturday afternoon around 13:25hrs after it was seen “driving suspiciously.”
“Following a search of the vehicle, the man and the woman, nothing was found. No arrests were made and the occupants were allowed on their way,” read the statement.
Commander Helen Harper added: “Due to the concern raised, we conducted a review of the stop. This included social media footage and body worn camera footage of the officers at the scene. We are satisfied that there are no misconduct issues.”
CNN has reached out to William’s representatives for comment. A representative for Linford Christie told CNN he would not be commenting further on the incident.
Earlier this year, UK government data showed that between April 2018 and March 2019, there were four stop and searches for every 1,000 White people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black people in England and Wales.
Racism in the UK may attract less attention than in the US, but it is no less present. An exclusive CNN/Savanta ComRes poll found that many Black people in the UK — whose views of race and racism in the UK are profoundly different from those of most White people — are twice as likely as White people to say they have not been treated with respect by police.
Black people are also about twice as likely as White people to say UK police are institutionally racist — among White people, just over a quarter believe it.