LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos pose with son Zuri-Li Dos Santos at a screening of the original Peter Pan (1953) to celebrate the launch of the Disney Home x Sanderson archival collection, at The Electric Cinema on September 2, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images for Sanderson Design Group)

According to The Huffington Post, two Metropolitan Police officers have been dismissed from the UK’s largest police force following a disciplinary investigation that found them guilty of gross misconduct during a racially charged stop and search incident. The incident involved the stop and search of professional sprinters Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos, who alleged that they were racially profiled by a group of police officers on July 4, 2020.

Williams and Dos Santos, a couple with a three-month-old son, were driving home in London when their car was followed and subsequently pulled over outside their residence. During the stop, they were handcuffed and subjected to a search on suspicion of carrying drugs and weapons, but nothing incriminating was found.

My London News explains that the officers involved in the stop justified their actions by claiming that they had followed the athletes’ vehicle due to Dos Santos “appalling” and “suspicious” driving and asserted that they were merely performing their duty then conducting the stop and search.

However, a disciplinary panel found that two of the officers, Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks, had lied about smelling cannabis during the incident. The panel’s chairperson, Chiew Yin Jones, concluded that their actions had breached professional standards of behavior related to honesty and integrity, leading to their dismissal without notice. Three other officers were cleared of breaching standards.

The incident was captured on video by Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 European Championship, and the footage was widely shared online. Williams expressed her hope that the disciplinary hearing would encourage the Metropolitan Police to address its “culture of racism” and be more transparent about its practices.

Following the hearing, Dos Santos emphasized that he believed he was falsely accused of “bad driving, threatening violence, and drug possession” based on racial stereotypes. He highlighted the disproportionate impact of police stops on Black individuals, stating that they are “nine times more likely to be stopped by the Met and three times more likely to be handcuffed”.

This incident is part of a broader pattern of allegations of institutional racism and sexism within the Metropolitan Police in recent years. In March, an independent review pointed out that the force had lost public confidence due to deeply ingrained racism, misogyny, and homophobia and emphasized the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the institution.

The dismissal of the two officers serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle to address racial profiling and misconduct within law enforcement and underscores the importance of accountability in ensuring fair and just policing practices. It also highlights the critical role that video evidence and public awareness play in shedding light on such incidents and advocating for change.

Image of Voice-online

By Martin

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