Met Police officers deny gross misconduct in Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos search

At a disciplinary hearing regarding the stop and search of athlete Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos, five Metropolitan Police officers have denied gross misconduct.

Ms Williams, a British sprinter, and Mr Dos Santos, her partner, were stopped in July 2020, in west London.

The couple were handcuffed, separated from their three-month-old son, and searched for drugs and weapons. Nothing was found and no arrests were made.

After the incident, the couple publicly accused the force of racism.

Facing allegations that they had breached police standards with regards to equality and diversity when the stop and search was carried out are acting Sgt Rachel Simpson, Pcs Allen Casey, Jonathan Clapham, Michael Bond, and Sam Franks.

All the officers, when they appeared in person at the hearing in central London, said that they did not believe their behaviour had amounted to gross misconduct.

Accused of breaching standards regarding force and respect are acting Sgt Simpson and PCs Clapham, Franks, and Bond.

Facing allegations over the accuracy of their account of the stop and search are PCs Casey along with PCs Clapham, Bond, and Franks.

Ms Williams has also been critical of former Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick regarding her comments about the stop and search.

An independent panel will determine whether allegations should be upheld in a hearing which is set to last until 27th October.

The highest level of disciplinary charge that any police officer can face is that of gross misconduct. Should a police officer be found guilty they can face disciplinary action. This includes a written warning or a demotion. It can also mean a dismissal from the force altogether.

Ricardo Dos Santos, himself an international athlete, said that the stop and search was for ‘driving while black.’

Karon Monoghan KC, when opening the case on behalf of the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct) stated that the treatment and detention the couple had received was ‘because they were black.’

It was also noted that the IOPC felt some officers were lying when they stated that there was a smell of cannabis when they stopped the car, and this was a reason for handcuffing the couple.

During the hearing, the panel were shown footage from various body-worn cameras and this showed the police surrounding the car and shouting at them to get out.

The footage showed Mr Dos Santos, who represents Portugal as a sprinter, stepping out of the car and immediately cuffed by officers with his hands behind his back.

Mr Dos Santos was heard to be saying that this was his home, his kid was in the car, and what are you doing?

Officers reply by telling him to calm himself down and behave himself. They then claimed there was a smell of cannabis.

The footage went on to show Mr Dos Santos telling officers that he was not acting suspiciously as he is a professional athlete coming home from training. Mr Dos Santos then accused the officers of being racist.

Footage of Ms Williams showed that she was weeping when she was handcuffed, telling the officers that it was ridiculous as her three-month-old son was with them and they would not do anything stupid.

One of the officers then accused Mr Dos Santos of running a red light, saying that he ‘shot off at speed and made a definite attempt to avoid them.’

The officer goes on to question why Mr Dos Santos drove away and stated that Mr Dos Santos had antagonised the officers, as if he wanted them to stop him.

Mr Dos Santos insisted that he had not tried to evade them. He is also heard to tell the police to do a roadside drug test, and asked again why he would have cannabis in the car when he had a little boy with them. Additionally, he said that they were both professional athletes.

When Mr Dos Santos was asked by an officer if he had ever been arrested before he replied that it was ‘for the same thing, namely DWB, driving while black.’ This comment resulted in him receiving a fine right away.

A female officer, after the search was conducted, told Ms Williams that she would not apologise because Mr Dos Santos driving was completely unacceptable and dangerous.

All the officers face allegations that they breached police standards regarding equality and diversity when the stop and search was carried out.

PC Casey is further accused of breaching professional standards when he carried out his duties and responsibilities and in the way in which he gave orders and instructions.

An independent panel will determine whether they will uphold allegations, with the hearing due to last until 27th October.



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