Published On: Thu, Jul 9th, 2020

Police apologise to Bianca Williams but insist they did nothing wrong

Metrpolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick drew positive headlines yesterday after apologising to a black athlete who was stopped, handcuffed and searched while driving around London with her partner and young son.

Despite their apology though, Dick and her deputy Helen Ball continued to insist that their officers were right to stop her car and had not treated Bianca Williams and her family badly.

Dick told parliament’s Home Affairs Committee that two seperate police teams had reviewed the evidence and found no misconduct by police. She added: “When we see something on the internet – on the video – we only see a part of it”. Bianca Williams’s video of the incident went viral and begins after her car is stopped.

Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball also told the committee: “We’ve reviewed what happened before the stop and the reasons why the vehicle was stopped and the complaints work that the IOPC [police regulator] will do will show that there were good grounds to stop that vehicle.”

In statements to the press, the police have previously claimed that Williams’s car was seen driving suspiciously, including on the wrong side of the road, and that the driver sped off when asked to stop. This is the narrative that Dick and Ball are standing by, despite their apology.

Bianca Williams has rejected these claims and is considering legal action against the force. She told LBC she, her partner and son were on their way to lunch when a police van started following them. She says she was going the right direction down a one-way street when police jumped out of the van. She said it wasn’t safe to stop there so they carried on driving safely for about 20 seconds to stop in a safe place outside her home.

Williams said police surrounded the car, dragged him away, handcuffed him and said it smelt of cannabis. When Williams complained and filmed the incident, the officers snatched her phone, put her in handcuffs and detained her for a search.

So by standing by the Metrpolitan Police’s narrative, Dick and Ball are effectively calling Williams a liar. She has not accepted their apology. On Twitter, she said the police had only apologised for the distress caused – not for the “wholly unjustified actions the police took against our family”.

Black people in London are more than four times as likely to be stopped and searched as white people.

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

Left Foot Forward

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