Five officers from London’s Metropolitan Police will face a grossly fraudulent hearing about the stop and search of two black athletes, the force said on Wednesday.
Bianca Williams and her partner, Ricardo Dos Santos, who are both professional sprinters, were stopped in west London on July 4, 2020, while traveling with their 3-month-old baby in a car. Both were handcuffed and searched for weapons and drugs, but nothing was found.
Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championships, charged police with race profiling and filed a complaint.
“I welcome this decision and hope that this opens the door for Met to begin to be more honest and reflective about the culture of racism, which is undoubtedly still a reality in the organization,” Williams said in a statement released by the couple’s lawyers.
The Independent Police Conduct Office, which handles complaints about the police in England and Wales, said the five police officers involved in the stopover incident will face a disciplinary panel that will “decide whether allegations that they have violated professionals” standards have been proven. “
Police have apologized for the distress the two athletes have inflicted. It said officers patrolling the area stopped and searched the car because they believed it was “being driven in a way that aroused suspicion.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “concerned” about the incident and said it highlighted the need to review the leadership of the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police department.
London Police Chief Cressida Dick resigned in February after Khan publicly criticized her leadership after a series of allegations of racist and misogynistic behavior in her department’s ranks.
“This case is yet another example of why it is crucial that the next Commissioner has a more effective plan to tackle the serious cultural issues within the Met Police and regain London’s confidence,” Khan said on Tuesday.
The police force acknowledged that its tactics have a “disproportionate impact on some communities”, saying it had recently updated its policy on the use of handcuffs before an arrest has been made to ensure a clear framework for when this is appropriate.