Linford Christie accuses Met Police of 'institutional racism'

Emily Cleary
·4-min read

Linford Christie has accused the Metropolitan Police of institutional racism after two athletes he trains were stopped and handcuffed as they drove in their car with their three month old baby.

In a series of angry posts on Twitter, using the Black Lives matter hashtag #BLM, the Olympian said: “Racist police aren’t just in America.”

He added: “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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09:  Former sprinter Linford Christie poses for a photograph at his 'Journey to the Podium' exhibition at the Getty Images Gallery Westfield on August 9, 2012 in London, England. The exhibition features images of Linford Christie behind the scenes as he mentors young athletes in the run up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Former sprinter Linford Christie has angrily accused the Met Police of racism after they stopped and searched two athletes he trains (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

“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.”

Christie, who won 24 medals over his career including 100m Olympic gold, now trains top-class athletes.

Footage of the incident showed an officer asking a woman to come out of her car so they could search for weapons. The woman is heard screaming “What are you doing? My son is in the car” as officers attempt to remove her from the vehicle.

Linford Christie has accused the Met Police of racism after two of his althetes were stopped and searched (Linford Christie/Twitter)
Linford Christie has accused the Met Police of racism after two of his althetes were stopped and searched (Linford Christie/Twitter)
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick attending a raid at an address in Islington, in north London, by the Metropolitan Police flying squad, investigating a high value jewellery burglary. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Linford Christie has called for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to 'justify' the incident (Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Met Police responded to Christie’s allegations with a lengthy statement.

It said: “At around 1325 on 04/07/2020, officers from the Territorial Support Group were patrolling in the W9 area in response to an increase in youth violence involving weapons.

“A vehicle with blacked out windows made off at speed from the officers, travelling the wrong side of the road. The officers eventually caught up with the vehicle which was stopped in Lanhill Road W9. The driver initially refused to get out of the vehicle.

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MONTE GORDO, PORTUGAL - JULY 25:  Coach Linford Christie (r) shares a joke with runner Conrad Williams during the Team GB Track and Field preperation camp at Monte Gordo Stadium on July 25, 2012 in Monte Gordo, Portugal.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Former Olympian Linford Christie now trains world-class athletes (Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“The occupants, a 25 year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were informed that they were being detained for the purposes of a search under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

“After a search was conducted on the persons/ vehicle, no arrests were made and the occupants were allowed on their way. 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. In this instance, officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards Unit have reviewed both footage from social media & the body-worn video of the officers on scene, and are satisfied that there is no concern around the conduct of officers.”

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