Bianca Williams: British athlete calls for ‘rigorous’ investigation into handcuffing incident

Williams was in Maida Vale’s west London district with his partner, Portuguese 400-meter record holder Ricardo dos Santos, and their three-month-old son when they were arrested by police over the weekend.

Independent investigation is now “necessary,” said Williams, “because the Metropolitan Police have proven that they cannot be trusted to investigate a complaint themselves, having previously stated publicly that there had been no fault.

“They published these results on Twitter before taking any action to officially register or investigate the reason why their actions caused so much distress to our family.”

Handcuff procedures

Williams said in the statement that she and her partner had received an apology from the police but “not for the totally unjustified actions the police took against our family”.

She added: “We are now contacting the IOPC through our lawyers and will fully assist in the investigation, which we hope will be rigorous.”

On Wednesday, the metropolitan police apologized to the couple for “distress caused”, although the organization did not apologize for the traffic stop.

Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said metropolitan police will undergo a review of her wristcuffing procedures after the police handcuffed Williams and his partner.

A senior official was tasked with carrying out the investigation after the incident, Dick told parliamentarians on Wednesday.

“I do not want, and I do not think so, to run a police service where handcuffs are a routine. This must always be justified and the justification must be in law and in writing,” she said.

“Having seen a number of issues raised in the past few weeks, I said to one of my senior officers,” Can you please review our handcuffing practices for you ensuring that they are not in any way should not do. “

The review will examine figures on the London police’s arrests and searches.

“I also have a new use of force watchdog group, which is involving community members and they will review … these specific cases and the data,” said Dick, who apologized to Williams and his partner.

“My senior officer said that I am sorry for Mrs. Williams for the distress it clearly caused her, and I say so too. So if there are lessons to be learned, we will learn them and I watch handcuffed like a specific problem. “

Ricardo Dos Santos of Portugal reacts after competing in the men's 400 meter semifinal on day two of the 22nd European Athletics Championships at Letzigrund Stadium on August 13, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland.

“Racial Professions”

British Athletics told CNN: “We are aware of the extremely distressing images of Bianca Williams and her partner handcuffed by the police outside their home over the weekend. Our staff have been in touch with her and will be available for any necessary support. “

Earlier this week, Williams accused metropolitan police of “racial profiling”.
Images of the incident, which were posted on social media by pair coach and Olympic gold medalist Linford Christie, appear to show two people – although their faces are not visible – getting out of a car .

When a police officer asked him to get out of the car, a man is heard asking “For what?”

Once out of the car, two other police officers approach the woman who tells them “that he did nothing”.

The woman becomes more and more distressed and shouts: “My son is in the car […] I don’t want you to take care of him. “The officers tell him to” relax “and” get out of the car “.

Christie then posted a message on social media referring to the incident: “Two of my athletes were arrested by the police today, both international athletes, parents of a three month old baby who was with them and handcuffed outside their home. […] Was it the suspect car or the black family inside that led to such a violent confrontation and ultimately a charge of the car, which smelled of grass but refused to be tested for drugs on the road. ”
“It’s always the same with Ricardo. They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or smoking cannabis. It’s racial profiling,” Williams told The Times of London.

“They talked to him like he was nothing, like he was worth nothing. Like he was fair – like he was a scum. It was horrible,” Williams told CNN.

Williams told CNN that when approached by the police, her first priority was the safety of her young son.

“He’s our son, and his safety is everything to us. We don’t know what’s going to happen with the police, the police are so unpredictable,” she said.

“We are raising a black boy who will then go to school alone and he will do things on his own. We will have to get used to him and teach him that … he can be arrested by the police because of the color of It’s just shocking that we have to tell our son to be honest, “Williams told CNN.

A metropolitan police statement on Sunday said a car was stopped in the W9 area on Saturday afternoon around 1:25 p.m. local time after being seen “driving suspiciously”.
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Stop and search statistics

“Following a search of the vehicle, the man and the woman, nothing was found. No arrests were made and the occupants were allowed to continue on their way,” the statement said.

Dos Santos told CNN he had been arrested 15 times since December 2017. He said he was previously accused by the police of driving a stolen vehicle and mistakenly portrayed as someone who sold drugs and carried weapons .

Regarding the incident on Saturday, he said, “The bad thing is that it didn’t affect me as much as it should, because for me I feel like it’s my new standard. Unfortunately, that’s my normal. It has happened so often that it has become second nature, “he told CNN.

Earlier this year, British government data showed that between April 2018 and March 2019, there were four stops and searches per 1,000 white people, compared to 38 per 1,000 black people in England and Wales.

Racism in the UK may attract less attention than in the United States, but it is nonetheless present. An exclusive CNN / Savanta ComRes poll found that many blacks in the UK are twice as likely as whites to say that they were not treated with respect by the police.

Blacks are also about twice as likely as whites to say the British police are institutionally racist – among whites, just over a quarter believe it.

Police commander Helen Harper said on Monday that the authorities “wanted to speak personally to the occupants of the vehicle to discuss what happened and their concerns.”

Harper said the Professional Standards Branch has reviewed the ruling and is “satisfied” that there was no problem of misconduct after examining the camera images of the officers’ body, images from social media and details of the incident.

“However, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to learn from every interaction we have with the audience. We want to listen and speak with those who raise concerns, to better understand the issues raised and what we can to explain the actions of the police, “she said in a statement.

“Where we could have interacted better, we need to think about what we should have done differently and adopt this learning for the future.”


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