Olympic sprinter Ricardo dos Santos 'felt like a top criminal' after armed Met Police incident

The athlete said it was the second time he has been pulled over by the Met Police, as Martha Fairlie reports

An Olympic sprinter said he felt like "a top criminal" the Metropolitan Police "had been after for five years" after being stopped while driving by armed officers.

Ricardo Dos Santos, a black man, accused the police of racial profiling after he was stopped when driving in west London in the early hours of Sunday.

The Metropolitan Police said officers thought he was using his phone while driving. 27-year-old Mr Dos Santos, however, denies being on his mobile.

He had previously been pulled over two years ago, with his Team GB athlete girlfriend, fellow sprinter Bianca Williams, when they were travelling with their baby in west London. Those officers are now facing gross misconduct charges.

In the latest stop, Mr Dos Santos’ footage showed a police car stopping in front of him and flashing its blue lights, after which he drove around the vehicle and pulled up some minutes later.

A second clip showed a police officer running up to Mr dos Santos’s car door and drawing his baton, apparently preparing to smash the window.

Mr Dos Santos told ITV News he was "so surprised" when two extra cars, containing armed police, arrived on the scene.

"They told me it was for my phone… honestly, I started to shake," he said. "I felt like a top criminal that they’d been after for five years.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the athlete told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “If there’s a reason for it, by all means, carry it on, but for suspecting someone to be on the phone… I think they saw me, a person of colour in the car, and it was, ‘let’s see what he does’ - the phone use, to stop someone for a phone and call seven officers."

'I can't say it's not the car. It's the person in the car'

Asked if he would consider taking further action against the police, Mr dos Santos said: "We will.

"We’ve thought about it because we think it’s more of a harassment thing now because it hasn’t only happened once since 2020, this is now the second time I’ve been stopped since 2020 and the multiple times previously.

“For me, I’m very cautious of what I do and every time I see a police car, especially late at night. In the back of my mind I’m always thinking … ‘Am I going to get stopped?’ and it’s honestly very scary.”

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The Portuguese sprinter also revealed he had sold his previous cars to be “less of a target”.

“I’m not putting myself in a position for them to stop me. I sold the previous cars I had to then get this one because I wanted to stand out a lot less, but again, it’s not the car," he said.

“I sold the BMW and the Mercedes that we had to get a Tesla, because it’s a car that you see every day. It’s not a car you’d associate with anything.”

The Met said the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is assessing the information.

A statement from the force read: “We have now recorded this matter as a public complaint. We’ve also referred it on a voluntary basis to the independent office for police conduct recognising the public interest.” 

An acting police sergeant and four police constables are all facing gross misconduct disciplinary hearings in connection with the first incident in 2020, in which Mr dos Santos and Ms Williams were stopped.The couple was handcuffed and details of their baby stored on a police database during the stop in Maida Vale, west London.

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