Five officers from London’s Metropolitan Police will face a gross misconduct hearing over searching two Black athletes in 2020, Reuters reports.
Professional sprinters Bianca Williams and her partner, Ricardo Dos Santos, were stopped in west London on July 4, 2020, while traveling with their 3-month-old baby in the vehicle. According to the report, both were handcuffed and searched for weapons and drugs, but nothing was discovered.
Williams, a sprint relay gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 European Championships, accused the officers of racial profiling and filed a formal complaint.
“I welcome this decision and hope this opens the door for the Met to start being more honest and reflective about the culture of racism which is undoubtedly still a reality within the organization,” Williams said in a statement released by the couple’s attorneys.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which oversees complaints against law enforcement in England and Wales, noted that each officer involved in the incident will face a disciplinary panel that “will decide whether allegations that they breached professional standards are proven.”
The police department has offered an apology for the emotional trauma that the incident caused to the two athletes and said that the officers claimed that they had stopped the car because they had believed it "was being driven in a manner that raised suspicion."
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said that he was “disturbed” by the incident. He also stated that he thought the Metropolitan Police merited a major change in its leadership ranks.
“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,” Khan said.