London’s police force referred itself on Tuesday to an independent watchdog following widespread complaints about the treatment of Bianca Williams and her partner.
26-year-old British sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner, 25-year-old Portuguese 400m record holder Ricardo dos Santos were stopped on Saturday afternoon while driving from training back to their home in Maida Vale in west London.
Williams, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was filmed distressed and handcuffed, with the couple’s baby son in the car, sparking accusations of racial profiling and fuelling concerns rolling globally about racism in police forces.
London’s Metropolitan Police said two reviews of the incident had not identified any misconduct by its officers but the police service had now referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
“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,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he had raised the case with the Metropolitan Police, and Britain’s opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer also questioned the justification for stopping the couple and the use of handcuffs.
Williams could not be immediately reached for comment.