Fundraiser for Met officers sacked over search of black athletes raises over £78,000

In just two days, tens of thousands have been raised for two Met Police officers who lied about smelling cannabis when they pulled over two black athletes, ITV London's Aisha Zahid reports

More than £78,000 has been raised online for the two Metropolitan Police officers who were sacked for gross misconduct over the stop and search of two black Olympic athletes.

PCs Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks were dismissed on Wednesday after a disciplinary panel found they lied about smelling cannabis when they pulled over Ricardo Dos Santos and Bianca Williams.

The police followed the athletes in July 2020 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.

Officers told the panel they pulled Dos Santos over due to the “appalling” and “suspicious” nature of his driving and were doing their duty when they conducted the stop and search.

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.

Watch: The moment Bianca Williams is pulled out of car by Metropolitan Police

Bodycam footage from the incident shows Mr Dos Santos screaming "what are you doing, my kid's in the car bro" as officers pin him against a wall.

They 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.

At around 8pm on Wednesday, an anonymous donor started an online fundraising page for the two sacked officers, stating its purpose was to “support the officers and their families” at “a time of great austerity”.

Condemning the donations in a tweet, author Alice Vinten, a former officer, wrote: "Is this what we do now? Raise money for lying cops?"

Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos were pulled over on July 4 2020 Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

The crowdfunding page, which notes the officers were dismissed without notice, states: “This comes at a time of great austerity where both will be affected by mortgage payments, food bills and general cost of living.

“Despite people’s personal views on this decision; this page has been created to solely support the officers and their families at this difficult time. So please refrain from airing them on this platform.

“Every penny will go to the support of the officers and their families. Any support will be greatly received and appreciated.”

Messages left on the fundraising page described the situation as “scandalous appeasement and scapegoating” and this is a “total joke of a country”.

Dos Santos could be heard screaming: 'What are you doing, my kid's in the car bro' as officers pinned him to a wall. Credit: PA

Another message commented “stop destroying this once great police service the envy of the world”.

During the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) hearing, Mr Dos Santos accused the officers of detaining him for "DWB, driving while black”.

The hearing was told the sprinter was stopped nine times within four weeks of buying a car in 2018.

Team GB athlete Ms Williams cried as she watched footage of Mr Dos Santos getting pulled from the driver’s seat to the roadside and handcuffed.

While PCs Clapham and Franks were found guilty of gross misconduct, they were not found to be in breach of equality and diversity standards.

The panel said they had been motivated by their desire to support the observation of a colleague that he could smell cannabis - leading them to become trapped in a lie.

Speaking to ITV London after the verdict, Mr Dos Santos said: "What I experienced was racism and I wanted everybody to see that myself and Bianca experienced racism. But I guess today the panel voiced their opinion against it."

He added: "The chair should have had the balls to actually to say what everybody thinks, not just brush it under the mat."

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

He said: “Honesty and integrity are at the core of policing and, as the panel has concluded, there can be no place in the Met for officers who do not uphold these values.”

He added that the panel’s findings highlight they “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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