‘They Spoke To Him As If He Was Nothing’: British Sprinter Receives Apology From Police Following Traffic Stop
The British mother said this is about the 10th time she has been pulled over by the London police force.
July 09, 2020 at 3:27 pm
The London Metropolitan Police force is having to apologize to a British sprinter and her family after she said they were wrongly detained during a traffic stop on Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Bianca Williams was in the car with her partner, Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos, and their 3-month-old child when the incident occurred.
The couple was in a Mercedes-Benz — which Williams said in addition to them being Black was the premise for the stop— when they were pulled over by Scotland Yard officers.
Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie shared a video of the incident on Twitter.
"Racist police aren't just in America #BLM," Christie wrote.
The video captured a small clip of the incident where a woman appearing to be Williams can be heard saying "Wait, wait, wait. He didn't do anything."
She goes on to tell the officers that her child is in the car before they attempt to calm her down and remove her from the vehicle.
"They spoke to him as if he was nothing, as if he was worthless. As if he was just — like he was scum. It was horrible," Williams said of her partner during an interview with CNN.
She said during the incident her main concern was her son and his safety.
"He's our son, and his safety is everything to us. We don't know what's gonna happen with the police, the police are so unpredictable," she said.
"We're raising a Black boy who's then going to be going to school by himself, and he's going to be doing things by himself. We're going to have to get used to it and to teach him that ... he can be stopped by the police because of the color of his skin. It's just shocking that we have to tell our son this to be honest," Williams added.
Officers said the couple was stopped because they noticed a car "heavily breaking and accelerating which included driving on the wrong side of the road." A statement from the department read that officers attempted to stop the car before it sped off.
Williams denied the agency's account of the incident, saying they were driving through "single-width roads" and that the stop was racially motivated.
“This isn’t the first or fourth or fifth time — it must be about the 10th,” she said. “It’s getting ridiculous.”
Dos Santos said he has been pulled over 15 times since December 2017 and has been accused by police of driving a stolen car and selling drugs.
On Wednesday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick apologized to Williams for the "distress this stop clearly caused."
“All of us watching could empathize with somebody who is stopped in a vehicle, who has a young child in the back, who does not probably know what exactly is going on and is subsequently found, together with her partner, not to be carrying any illicit goods,” Dick said.
The commissioner added that video of the incident showed "no misconduct apparent," despite the couple being detained for 45 minutes, and that the department would be turning itself over to be investigated, according to The Post.
The department will also be reviewing its handcuffing policies to ensure "that it hasn't become in any way a default in certain situations because it shouldn't do."
Since the killing of George Floyd on May 25, people across the world have protested in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesters in Britain have taken to the streets to voice their concerns with police brutality and injustice.
According to The Post, a group of demonstrators in Britain took down a statue of a 17th-century slave trader and dumped it into a nearby harbor.