In July 2020, British Olympic athlete Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos were stopped by police in a stop and search in west London.
Images of the couple in handcuffs went viral, with Williams citing racial profiling as initiating the stop. Two years on, the five police officers involved in the incident may now face the sack over gross misconduct charges.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Bianca Williams?
Williams is a Commonwealth Games medallist and Olympic sprinter.
The 28-year old, who is from Enfield in England, is in a relationship with Portuguese athlete Ricardo dos Santos, with whom she has a son named Zuri.
She competed in the Olympic Games held in Tokyo in 2021 and said at the time: “I can’t wait to rewrite the book, to be known again as Bianca Williams the athlete that achieved so much and was running great times whilst becoming a mother”.
She also commented on the importance of not staying silent about the stop and search incident, adding: “There are many out there who don’t have a voice and who have to just move on as though nothing happened. I felt I had to speak up and to hopefully help bring about change.”
Why was Bianca Williams stopped and searched?
The athlete and her partner Ricardo dos Santos were stopped and searched for drugs and weapons in west London on 4 July 2020.
Footage of the handcuffed couple was widley shared on social media, with Williams accusing the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling.
After the search, details of the couple’s three-month-old baby were also stored on a police database called Merlin, used to record information on children who become known to the authorities.
Nothing was found in the search and the police officers who carried it face a gross misconduct hearing.
What has the Metropolitan Police said?
The watchdog for the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said on Wednesday (27 April) that the five police officers involved in the incident will all face a gross misconduct disciplinary hearing over the incident.
IPOC regional director Sal Naseem said: “All five officers – an acting police sergeant and four police constables – will face allegations they breached police standards of professional behaviour for duties and responsibilities and for equality and diversity.”
What has Bianca Williams said?
Responding to the news on Twitter, Williams said: “I feel particularly vindicated by the IOPC’s decision in light of ex-commissioner Cressida Dick’s public efforts to discredit and undermine our complaints, and to trivialise the experiences of black people in the UK and how we are policed.
“I sincerely hope that the Met’s culture of sweeping these issues under the carpet ends with the former Commissioner.”
Williams was not the only one to make a comment about the former commisioner.
London mayor Sadiq Khan saying: “This case is yet another example of why it is vital that the next Commissioner has a more effective plan to tackle the serious cultural issues within the Met Police and to regain the trust of Londoners.”