SCOTLAND Yard has this evening referred itself to a watchdog after British sprinter Bianca Williams accused cops of treating her boyfriend “like scum” during a stop and search.
The force initially said its cops had acted lawfully after the Commonwealth gold sprinter, 26, and her Portuguese sprinter partner Ricardo dos Santos, 25, were pulled over and handcuffed in front of their three-month-old baby.
However, the Met Police has now confirmed it has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
The referral follows comments from 68-year-old Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, who accused the force of being “out of touch” and described the incident as “disturbing and shocking”.
And Ms Williams says she was the victim of racial profiling.
The athlete told The Times: “It’s always the same thing with Ricardo.
“They think he’s driving a stolen vehicle, or he’s been smoking cannabis.
“It’s racial profiling. The way they spoke to Ricardo, like he was scum, dirt on their shoe, was shocking. It was awful to watch.”
Police chiefs said they had “no concerns” over the incident this afternoon.
In a statement, they said a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were detained but not arrests were made following the search.
They said: “Each stop is dealt with on its own merits at the discretion of the individual officers involved, taking into account various aspects including behaviour and compliance.
“Officers have to make these judgement calls regularly on a daily basis, often in difficult circumstances.
“They understand that their actions will be scrutinised as they go about their work and that the public have the right to hold them to account where appropriate.
“Officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards have reviewed both footage from social media, and the body-worn video of the officers and are satisfied that there is no concern around the officers’ conduct.”
But this evening, the force issued a new statement on the arrests, which says: “We have now recorded this incident as a public complaint.
“The decision to refer to the IOPC has been taken due to the complaint being recorded and the significant public interest in this matter and we welcome independent scrutiny of the facts.
“Two reviews of the circumstances by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards have not identified misconduct for any officer involved.”
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “We call on the Independent Office for Police Conduct to conclude their work in a fair and timely fashion for the benefits of all parties concerned.
“And we remind the public that a short clip of an incident widely shared on social media does not always tell the full operational policing story.”
Ms Williams and her partner say they will meet with lawyers. They are also expected to make a formal complaint.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Williams explained she had started to panic as she was pulled out of the car from her baby son.
She said: “The fact that I was going to be separated from my son, I couldn’t bear that. The mother instinct in me just kicked in and I refused and I wanted to stay with my son.
“I haven’t been able to watch the video back properly because it breaks my heart hearing my voice and how upset I was.”
Met Police have since defended the stop-and-search, saying it the car had “blacked out windows” and was driving suspiciously, including driving on the wrong side of the road.
They claimed that the car “made off at speed” before finally stopping.
But Mr dos Santos argued he had felt it was unsafe when police first tried to pull him over and drove for “another 20 seconds” to be able to park outside their home.
The couple – who are training for the Tokyo Olympics – said police had claimed to smell cannabis as they stopped the car.
Professional athlete Mr dos Santos said he had never drunk or smoked in his life.
Mr dos Santos claimed he had been stopped by police about 15 times since getting a black Mercedes in November 2017.
The incident unfolded about 1.30pm on Saturday, with Territorial Support Group officers patrolling the area of West London area after reports of an increase in violence involving weapons.
Footage was shared on social media showing the pair being pulled from their car in broad daylight by at least three police officers in West London on Saturday.
Ms Williams, who is the fifth-fastest UK woman over 200m, can be heard yelling “my son is in the car”.
One of the cops can then be heard saying they are searching the car “for weapons”.
They were finally told they were free to go after 45 minutes.
British Athletics have since offered emotional support to Ms Williams, saying: “We are aware of the hugely distressing footage of Bianca Williams and her partner being handcuffed by the police outside their home. Our staff have been in touch with her and will be on hand for any support required.”
Labour Leader Keir Starmer, who is also a former Director of Public Prosecutions, today said it was “difficult to justify” the use of handcuffs during the incident.
Former 100m Olympic champion Linford Christie accused the Met Police of “institutional racism” over the incident.
Yesterday, Linford – who is now an athletics coach – addressed a message on Twitter to Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick alleging that the male driver had been “assaulted” by cops and that officers had taken “a mother away from her baby.”
He wrote: “Two of my athletes were stopped by the police today, both international athletes, both parents of a three-month-old baby who was with them and both handcuffed outside of their home.
“Can Cressida Dick or anyone please explain to me what justification the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over.
“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test.
“This is not the the first time this has happened. (second time in two months) And I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any longer.”