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Olympic sprinter ‘feared’ for safety of his family when stopped by police

Ricardo Dos Santos arrives at the hearing to give evidence
Ricardo Dos Santos arrives at the hearing to give evidence - Jamie Lorriman

An Olympic sprinter has denied that he was trying to “evade” police when he was stopped and handcuffed in front of his son.

A police misconduct hearing heard that Ricardo Dos Santos “feared” for the safety of his partner and Team GB athlete Bianca Williams, when officers followed them minutes before searching and handcuffing them in the presence of their young son.

Mr Dos Santos and Ms Williams, both international athletes, believe they were racially profiled during their Jul 4, 2020 encounter with Metropolitan Police officers as they drove to their west London home from training with their son, who was three months at the time, in the back seat of their Mercedes.

Dashcam footage from the Met Police vehicle which followed Mr Dos Santos’s blacked-out car was shown at a disciplinary hearing in south-east London on Wednesday, where five officers could be sacked if gross misconduct is proven.

Mr Dos Santos said he was not trying to “evade” the police or driving dangerously, and that he was “just trying to get home” because he feared for the safety of his family, while taking questions from Nick Yeo, representing Pc Allan Casey, who was driving the police vehicle.

The police stop and search of the Williams family
The police stop and search of the Williams family

Mr Dos Santos, 28, who competed for Portugal in the 400m sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Ms Williams, 29, a gold medallist in the 4x100m relays at the 2018 European and Commonwealth Games, were handcuffed and searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons, after they pulled over outside their property.

Nothing was found.

Pc Casey, along with Acting Sergeant Rachel Simpson, Pc Jonathan Clapham, Pc Michael Bond and Pc Sam Franks deny all charges.

Mr Dos Santos told the hearing: “I didn’t want anything to happen to my family and I wanted to get home.

“I realised that the police carrier was following me and I hadn’t done anything wrong. I was afraid for the safety of Bianca and my son.”

‘Traumatic experiences’

When asked why he should be afraid of the police, Mr Dos Santos said he had “traumatic experiences” as a young black person who had been stopped by the police on “multiple occasions” in the past.

He added: “At that present moment, my focus was the safety of Bianca and my son. “I wanted to get home so they [the police] could see my other vehicles and know I wasn’t evading them.”

The five officers all face allegations that they breached police standards over equality and diversity during the stop-and-search.

Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos pose with son Zuri-Li Dos Santos
Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos pose with son Zuri-Li Dos Santos - Dave Benett/Getty Images for Sanderson Design Group

Acting Sgt Simpson and Pcs Clapham, Bond and Franks also face allegations that their actions amounted to a breach of professional behaviour standards in relation to the use of force.

They are said to have failed in relation to their levels of authority, respect and courtesy, as well as in their duties and responsibilities.

Pc Casey is also accused of breaching professional standards in the way he carried out his duties and responsibilities or gave orders and instructions.

It is also alleged that the honesty and integrity of Pcs Casey, Clapham, Bond and Franks breached professional behaviour standards.

The hearing continues.