Dwayne Francis: Police officer racially profiled Black school worker during stop, watchdog finds

Exclusive: “It could be the start of change especially if others within our community use the complaints process and follow it through,” Dwayne Francis told The Independent.

Nadine White
Tuesday 21 September 2021 10:15
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<p>Dwayne Francis was detained while waiting in his car for a post office to open on his way to work. </p>

Dwayne Francis was detained while waiting in his car for a post office to open on his way to work.

A Black school worker has welcomed the police watchdog’s ruling that he was racially profiled during a police stop and search in May 2020.

Dwayne Francis complained after being detained waiting in his car for a post office to open on his way to work.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) opened an investigation and found that one of three Metropolitan Police officers breached “standards of equality and diversity”.

Two others who were found to have breached standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity.

The three officers asked the 32-year-old to get out of his vehicle in Lewisham, south London, placed him in handcuffs and he was searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Mr Francis’ vehicle was searched by but no drugs were seized, he was not arrested, and no further action was taken.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Mr Francis tentatively welcomed the IOPC ruling.

“There’s an air of apprehension if I’m honest as I know the Met find it hard to hold their colleagues to account,” he said. “But it could be the start of change especially if others within our community use the complaints process and follow it through.”

Three Metropolitan Police Service officers will face a gross misconduct hearing after an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation upheld the driver’s complaint that he was racially profiled.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Stop and search is an important policing tool, but it is an intrusive power and affects the trust and confidence that Black communities have in the police service.

“It is vital it is used with care. Our investigation found evidence indicative of racial bias on the part of one officer and further breaches of standards of professional behaviour by all three.

“They will now have to answer those allegations at a disciplinary hearing which we have directed to be held.”

At the time of the incident, Mr Francis tweeted: “As I knew I was doing nothing wrong I removed myself from my car officers then proceeded to detain me in handcuffs under section 23 of the drugs act without any evidence to support their claims I had drugs or was a dealer.

“There was a total disregard for my status as a professional who is the Inclusion Manager and Safeguarding lead at a secondary school.

“They continued to racially profile me on my appearance and even go as far to determine that I had droplets of cannabis in my car without evidence to support this claim.”

When requested, officers failed to provide their badge numbers and a receipt for the search to Mr Francis but later denied any racial profiling had taken place and stated that they had a lawful reason to stop the driver.

Young Black males are up to 19 times more likely to be stopped by the police, according to data analysis from University College London’s institute for global city policing.

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