Two Metropolitan Police officers have been determined to be in violation of gross misconduct in connection to the stop and search of two black athletes.

On July 4, 2020, Olympic sprinter Ricardo dos Santos, 28, and his partner, Team GB athlete Bianca Williams, 29, filed a complaint with the police watchdog, alleging that they were subjected to racial profiling during a “disturbing” stop and search as they were driving home in west London. PC Jonathan Clapham and PC Sam Franks have been found guilty of gross misconduct in relation to this search.

As they were heading home with their three-month-old baby in their Mercedes after a training session, the police tailed the couple. Upon being stopped outside their residence, they were handcuffed and subjected to a search on suspicions of carrying drugs and weapons, although nothing incriminating was discovered.

Acting Police Sergeant Rachel Simpson, PC Allan Casey, PC Jonathan Clapham, PC Michael Bond, and PC Sam Franks all denied the allegations brought against them, which included claims of violating police standards related to equality and diversity during the stop and search. The disciplinary hearing has yet to reach a decision on the cases involving Sergeant Simpson, PC Casey, and PC Bond.

The Independent Office For Police Conduct (IOPC) initiated the case against the five officers, asserting that the detention of Mr. dos Santos and Ms. Williams was motivated by their race and was characterised as “excessive, unreasonable, and unjustified.”

Karon Monaghan KC, representing the IOPC, argued before the panel that there exists “institutional discrimination” within the Met Police. The IOPC’s case relied on various documents and reports demonstrating that black individuals are disproportionately targeted for stop and search procedures in London and are often subjected to greater suspicion and hostility by police officers while being unjustly stereotyped as criminals.

Mr. dos Santos accused the officers of detaining him for “DWB – driving while black” and expressed his fear for the safety of his partner and child during the encounter with the officers. Ms. Williams became emotional while viewing footage of her partner being forcibly removed from the driver’s seat and handcuffed, adamantly refuting the notion that her partner could have acted differently to avoid police attention, as “he can’t change the color of his skin.”

All five officers provided testimony during the course of the misconduct hearing. The panel learned that the officers trailed Mr. dos Santos due to the “appalling” and “suspicious” nature of his driving and asserted that they were merely fulfilling their duty when conducting the stop and search.

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