Sir Keir Starmer today claimed the Met Police officers were not justified in handcuffing a black Team GB sprinter and her partner after being pulled over in their Mercedes for a weapons stop and search.
The Labour Leader claimed the incident involving Bianca Williams, 26, and Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos, 25, in front of their three-month-old son was not handled ‘well at all’ and should make Scotland Yard ‘uncomfortable’.
He told LBC: ‘When they got to the car I didn’t really think they handled it very well at all. It was clear there was a very young child in the back.
‘The use of handcuffs is always controversial. I couldn’t actually see what the justification for that was. We will wait and see, it will be for the police to justify their actions…. But what I do know is if I was a senior officer looking at that video footage, I would feel uncomfortable about the way it was dealt with.’
The video of Miss Williams and Mr dos Santos, 25, being stopped and handcuffed by police in front of her three-month-old baby was shared on social media by their trainer and Olympic champion Linford Christie.
Mr Christie has demanded an explanation after footage showed how the athletes appeared to be manhandled by members of the Metropolitan Police during the stop, saying it was proof of ‘institutional racism’ within the force.
But Scotland Yard insists there is no evidence of misconduct on the part of its officers, and justified the incident saying the car had ‘made off at speed’ and was ‘travelling on the wrong side of the road’. The Mercedes also had ‘blacked out windows’, which are only illegal in the UK if they let less than 70 per cent of light through.
Sir Keir Starmer today (pictured) claimed the Met Police should feel ‘uncomfortable’ after viewing the video of a black Team GB sprinter and her partner being pulled over in their Mercedes for a weapons stop and search
Commonwealth gold medallist Bianca Williams, 26, and her Portuguese sprinter partner Ricardo dos Santos, 25, were stopped and searched near their London home, with their three-month-old baby on board
This is the moment the Metropolitan Police stopped and handcuffed two of Linford Christie’s athletes outside their home in London
A photo shared on Instagram by Ms Williams of the stop and search confrontation. She is to the right of the centre of the photo, with her three-month-old son
Commander Helen Harper said: ‘I understand the concern when incidents like this happen and how they can appear when part of it is filmed without context.
‘Due to the concern raised, we conducted a review of the stop. This included social media footage and bodyworn camera footage of the officers at the scene. We are satisfied that there are no misconduct issues.’
Ms Williams told the Times: ‘It’s always the same thing with Ricardo [her partner].
‘They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis.’
She added: ‘It’s racial profiling. The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking. It was awful to watch.’
The clip appeared to show two people – a man and a woman – being pulled out of a car in a London street.
The woman says ‘he didn’t do anything’ and officers can later be heard telling the woman to calm down after she worries about her son remaining in the car.
A male voice can be heard shouting in the background towards the end of the clip.
The video, shared on Saturday, was captioned by Mr Christie with the note ‘racist police aren’t just in America’.
Ms Williams has slammed the police for ‘racial profiling’ – though the Met insists there is no evidence of misconduct on the part of its officers
The Olympic champion left a message on Twitter asking for an explanation after the athletes were stopped
Mr Christie questioned the reason behind the stop and suggested the police service were guilty of institutional racism
The Metropolitan Police said the stop was necessary as the car ‘drove off at speed on the wrong side of the road’ and had ‘blacked out windows’
In a message addressed to the Met Police, Mr Christie wrote: ‘Two of my athletes were stopped by the police today, both international athletes, both parents of a three-month-old baby who was with them and both handcuffed outside of their home.
‘Can Cressida Dick or anyone please explain to me what justification the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over.
‘Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test.
‘This is not the the first time this has happened. (second time in two months) And I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any longer.’
The text also contained the hashtags BLM and MetPoliceRacist.
Linford Christie, pictured, questioned whether the car was stopped in such a manner because there was a young black family inside the vehicle
Mr Christie asked Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to explain what happened
Linford Christie has accused the Metropolitan Police of ‘institutionalised racism’ after two of his athletes were stopped and handcuffed
Scotland Yard said officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards have reviewed footage from social media and officers’ bodycams and were satisfied there was no concern around the officers’ conduct.
The force said in a statement that a car was stopped in Lanhill Road, Maida Vale, west London, on Saturday afternoon after it was seen driving suspiciously, and a 25-year-old man and 26-year-old woman were searched.