LONDON (AP) — 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 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 “it's always the same thing" and 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 were considering legal action against the police.
The video was posted by British Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie, who is training Williams and the 25-year-old dos Santos for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
“Racist police aren't just in America," Christie wrote on Twitter.
In a separate post, he 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 on Monday that said the stop was made because the car “was being driven in a manner that raised suspicion, heavily braking and accelerating which included driving on the wrong side of the road. They indicated for it to stop but it failed to do so and accelerated off.”
The police said the driver initially refused to get out of the car, then both adult occupants were handcuffed while the car was searched. Nothing illegal was found and no arrests were made.
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 of) the manner of the driving raised suspicion, it is only right that they act on it.
Harper added they were trying to contact the couple, and invited the pair to call the police.
She said the Independent Office for Police Contact is also reviewing the officers' actions.
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