Bianca Williams blasts ‘shocking’ fundraiser for police sacked over stop and search

Almost £140,000 so far donated to ex-constables fired for gross misconduct over ‘traumatising’ incident

Tara Cobham
Monday 30 October 2023 20:13 GMT
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Bianca Williams opens up on impact of police search as officers sacked

Team GB star Bianca Williams has blasted the “shocking” fundraiser for two former Metropolitan Police officers who were sacked over the stop and search of her and her partner.

Thousands of supporters have donated almost £140,000 to a JustGiving crowdfunding page, which aims to “support” ex-constables Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks at “a time of great austerity”.

The pair were fired on Wednesday after a disciplinary panel found their actions during a “highly distressing” stop and search of athlete Ms Williams, 29, and her partner, Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos, 28, amounted to gross misconduct.

Team GB athlete Ms Williams, 29, and her partner, the Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos, 28, endured a ‘highly distressing’ stop and search

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour on Monday, Ms Williams said: “Everyone has a right to do a crowdfund. But in these circumstances, it’s quite shocking, really and truly.”

However, Ms Williams said she has “no regrets” over taking the case to a police misconduct tribunal, despite it unleashing a “crazy” amount of “horrific” trolling since Wednesday’s ruling.

Bianca Williams tearful as she opens up on impact of police search

Ms Williams told the programme: “I have seen some of the comments that they shouldn’t have lost their jobs, but they lied. The officers lied at the end of the day and there has to be a punishment towards that. We can’t accept that in the police force, that shouldn’t be allowed and so therefore, they lost their jobs for that.

“I am still shocked by it, just the whole crowdfunding situation.”

The police followed the athletes as they drove to their west London home from training with their baby son, then three months old, in the back seat of their Mercedes.

The couple were handcuffed and searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons after they were pulled over outside their property, but nothing was found.

During his evidence, Mr Dos Santos accused the officers of detaining him for “DWB, driving while Black” and told how he was stopped nine times within four weeks of buying a car in 2018.

The officers were accused of racially profiling the couple alongside fellow Met officers Acting Police Sergeant Rachel Simpson, PC Allan Casey and PC Michael Bond, who were found not to have breached any standards.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which brought the case against five officers, said the stopping of Mr Dos Santos and Ms Williams was “because they were Black” and was “excessive, unreasonable and unjustified”.

The misconduct panel found the officers had lied about smelling cannabis when they pulled over the couple on July 4 2020.

Athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos outside Palestra House, central London, on Wednesday

Ms Williams told Women’s Hour the “very traumatic” event was still difficult to comprehend. She added: “I can’t watch the video back, because it really just brings tears to my eyes, because the trauma hasn’t left.”

Ms Williams said she has been left “always on edge and anxious”, particularly when she or her family are in the car, and especially whenever police drive past.

Ms Williams has won bronze in the 4x100m at the World Athletics Championships

Telling of how she no longer feels protected by police, she said: “There is institutional misogyny and racism within the police system. It’s quite scary that we live in a world where the people who are supposed to protect us - we actually don’t know if they are going to protect us.”

She spoke of her fears for her son growing up: “As a Black boy growing up in London, he has no idea how the world is, how scary the world is - and I fear for him growing up.”

But Ms Williams said she has no regrets about pursuing the case because, as part of a couple with a public profile, “I feel like we have a voice and we are going to use it”.

Earlier this year, Ms Williams won bronze in the 4x100m at the World Athletics Championships. Mr Dos Santos competed in the 400m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Other people who fear they have been wrongfully stopped and treated by the police may not have the power to speak up, enough support behind them or the financial backing to get a lawyer and take it further, Ms Williams stated.

She said: “We are doing to this to help the next person and the people behind us because it is going to happen again, sadly.”

After last week’s ruling, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Ward said the couple “deserved better and I apologise to them for the distress they have suffered”.

He added that the panel’s findings highlighted the force “still have a long way to go to earn the trust of our communities, particularly our black communities when it comes to our use of stop and search”.

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