British watchdog investigates police arrest of sprinter dos Santos
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s police watchdog is investigating after armed officers stopped the car of Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos in London two years after a traffic stop by the athlete led to charges racial profiling.
Metropolitan Police said officers on a routine patrol stopped a car in west London early on Sunday because they believed the driver may be using a mobile phone while driving. The force said officers spoke to the driver, who then continued on his way.
Police said the driver filed a complaint and police referred the incident to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, “recognizing the public interest”.
Dos Santos, 27, said on Tuesday he did not feel safe driving in the British capital.
“I recently changed my car. I have a family car just so I can stand out a lot less, but I guess it’s not the car – it’s the person driving the car,” he told the BBC.
“And every time I see a police car when I’m driving, I think, ‘Is it going to happen this time? Will it happen this time? When is this going to happen again?” he said.
In 2020, dos Santos and his partner, British runner Bianca Williams, were arrested in west London while traveling with their 3-month-old baby in a car. The couple, both black, were handcuffed and searched for weapons and drugs. Nothing was found.
Police later apologized and five officers face gross misconduct hearings in the 2020 stop and search.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in 2020 that the incident highlighted the need for an overhaul of the leadership of the Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest police service.
London Police Chief Cressida Dick resigned in February after Khan publicly criticized his leadership following a series of allegations involving racist and misogynistic behavior within the ranks of his department.