Bianca Williams: Athlete accuses police of racial profiling after vehicle search

Bianca Williams
Williams won European and Commonwealth gold in the 4x100m relay in 2018

British sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner have accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling and acting violently towards them.

European and Commonwealth relay gold medallist Williams, 26, and Portuguese 400m record holder Ricardo dos Santos were stopped in a vehicle in London.

They fear they were targeted because they are black and drive a Mercedes.

Police say the vehicle had been on the wrong side of the road and the driver sped off when asked to stop.

Officers were patrolling in the Maida Vale area because of an increase in youth violence.

A police statement said: "Officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards have reviewed both footage from social media, and the body-worn video of the officers, and are satisfied that there is no concern around the officers' conduct."

Bianca Williams 'hurt' after she and partner were stopped by police

Williams and 25-year-old Dos Santos, who are training for next year's Tokyo Olympics, told the Timesexternal-link they plan to formally complain at being pulled from their car for a weapons search when returning home from a training session.

They say police handcuffed them while their three-month-old son was on board and carried out a search that lasted 45 minutes.

Dos Santos, who plans to meet lawyers on Monday, said that he had been stopped by police as many as 15 times since they changed their car to a Mercedes in November 2017.

Video of the incident showed them protesting that they had done nothing wrong and Williams screaming "my son is in the car".

The police statementexternal-link said that at about 13:25 BST on Saturday officers from the Territorial Support Group "witnessed a vehicle with blacked-out windows that was driving suspiciously, including driving on the wrong side of the road".

The statement added: "They indicated for it to stop but it failed to do so and made off at speed. The officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road. The driver initially refused to get out of the car."

After searching Williams and Dos Santos, and the vehicle, nothing was found and no arrests were made.

The incident was first raised on social media by their coach, 1992 Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie, who accused the police of abusing their power and institutionalised racism.

Williams, the fifth-fastest British woman in history over 200m, and Dos Santos said that a written report given to them by police did not mention driving on the wrong side of the road, and that where they stopped is a single car-width road.

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