Five Met Police officers deny gross misconduct over ‘racially profiled’ stop and search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner
- The pair were driving in west London on July 4, 2020, when they were stopped
Five Metropolitan Police officers have denied gross misconduct over the ‘racially profiled’ stop-and-search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos.
Mr dos Santos was driving a Mercedes through west London on July 4, 2020, when the pair were stopped by police. The couple, who are black, were handcuffed in front of their three-month-old son.
Ms Williams, a gold medallist in the 4x100m relays at both the 2018 European and Commonwealth Games, later accused the police of having racially profiled them.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog previously said officers had followed the couple as they drove through Maida Vale before stopping and searching them for weapons – and Mr dos Santos for drugs. Nothing was found.
On Monday, five officers appeared at a police misconduct hearing in south east London. It is alleged the officers followed, pursued and stopped a car driven by a male, used force to restrain the driver and passenger, who were black, and detained them for a period of time.
Five Metropolitan Police officers have denied gross misconduct over the stop-and-search of athletes Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos (pictured)
Mr dos Santos was driving a Mercedes through west London on July 4 2020 when the pair were stopped by police (pictured). The couple, who are black, were handcuffed in front of their three-month-old son
Ms Williams (pictured at the London 2017 World Championships in Athletics) is a gold medallist in the 4x100m relays at both the 2018 European and Commonwealth Games
Disciplinary panel chairman Chew Yin Jones asked each of them: ‘Do you accept or deny that your behaviour on July 4 2020 amounted to gross misconduct?’
Each of the officers replied with the word ‘deny’. They could be sacked if gross misconduct is proven.
Acting Sergeant Rachel Simpson and Pcs Allan Casey, Jonathan Clapham, Michael Bond and Sam Franks all face allegations that they breached police standards over equality and diversity during the stop-and-search.
Acting Sgt Simpson and Pcs Clapham, Bond and Franks also face allegations that their actions amounted to a breach of professional behaviour standards in relation to the use of force.
READ MORE: Police watchdog investigator quit ‘because bosses watered down her probe into Met officers who stopped and searched black Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner and put them in handcuffs’
They are said to have failed in relation to their levels of authority, respect and courtesy as well as in their duties and responsibilities.
Pc Casey is also accused of breaching professional standards in the way he carried out his duties and responsibilities or gave orders and instructions.
It is also alleged that the honesty and integrity of Pcs Casey, Clapham, Bond and Franks also breached professional behaviour standards.
Footage of the search was later widely shared on social media, and both Ms Williams, 29, and Mr Dos Santos, 28, who is a Portuguese 400m sprinter who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, have been critical of how they were treated.
In a TV interview two years after the stop and search, Mr dos Santos said he didn’t feel safe driving in London.
‘For me, I’m very cautious of what I do and every time I see a police car, especially late at night,’ he said. ‘In the back of my mind I’m always thinking… “Am I going to get stopped?” and it’s honestly very scary.’
When asked on BBC Breakfast how safe he felt driving around London following the incident, he said: ‘I honestly don’t. I don’t feel safe at all.
‘The first thing I said to myself when I saw the car was, ”Is it going to happen?”’
Mr Dos Santos revealed he sold his previous cars to be ‘less of a target’.
Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos (pictured together) were stopped and searched by police in west London in July 2020
Sprinter Ricardo dos Santos said he was pulled over for a second time by seven armed police officers while driving home in London
He posted three clips of the stop on Twitter , including one of an officer withdrawing his extendable baton, and said seven armed police had stopped his £57,000 Tesla
After the IOPC opened an investigation into the incident, a lead investigator quit her job, claiming higher-ups had ‘watered down’ her probe into the stop and search.
Trishia Napier had been tasked by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) with looking into the actions of Met officers who handcuffed Ms Williams Mr dos Santos.
But Ms Napier accused her boss of interfering in the investigation and said her recommendation that officer’s actions be viewed as possible gross misconduct – an offence for which they could be fired – was downgraded by higher-ups to the lower charge of misconduct. The IOPC said it ‘absolutely’ refuted the claim.
Ms Napier said she raised a formal complaint over the decision, suggesting her assessment may have been ‘watered down’ and casting ‘serious down on its [IOPC] independence’. After an internal inquiry found in favour of the IOPC, Ms Napier resigned in November 2020 and went on to take her former employer to tribunal.
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