Athlete Bianca Williams fears she was racially profiled after being stopped and searched by police | Women's Running

Athlete Bianca Williams fears she was racially profiled after being stopped and searched by police

Read Time:   |  July 7, 2020

Williams and her partner were stopped and searched by police in Maida Vale on Saturday and have now spoken out

Athlete Bianca Williams, who competed for England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is the fifth fastest woman in British history over 200m, was stopped, handcuffed and had her car searched by the Met Police on Saturday along with her partner Ricardo Dos Santos. Their three-month old son was also in the car.

Williams and Dos Santos are both hugely successful athletes coached by Olympic champion Linford Christie, who spoke out about the incident and pointed to systemic racism as a contributing factor to why the pair were targeted by police officers.

Williams spoke publicly about her experience for the first time yesterday, saying it has left her feeling as though “being black is a crime”.

In a video shared by Christie, the couple are seen being forced out of the car before being put in handcuffs, while a visibly distressed Williams exclaims: “My son is in the car”.

She later told The Guardian that “not everyone [this happens to is] in a position where they can make a stand and have a voice”. She pointed out that black men in particular are often racially profiled by police, which can be a very disturbing and frightening experience, and that she felt the need to teach her son to take extra care growing up as a black boy.

The stop and search raised no misconduct issues and the couple were released, but Labour leader Keir Starmer questioned the justification for the use of handcuffs. The Territorial Support Group who made the stop claimed that Williams and Dos Santos had been driving suspiciously, including being on the wrong side of the road, and had blacked out windows. Williams expressed confusion at this accusation, stating that the car had not been on the wrong side of the road and that, while the windows were tinted, they were perfectly legal and had come from Mercedes.

Williams went on to stress that her partner Dos Santos had experienced racial profiling numerous times before, and that he’d even commented “welcome to my world” as the pair were being handcuffed. “That hurt. It shouldn’t have to be like that,” she later said.

The police commander for central west, Helen Harper, said that the body-cam footage was being revisited and encouraged the couple to make contact about the incident.

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