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London Police to Review Handcuffing Procedures After Detention of Black Athletes


LONDON — The head of the London Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday that the force’s handcuffing practices would be reviewed, after officers on Saturday pulled a top British sprinter and her partner from their car and handcuffed them in front of their 3-month-old son.

The athlete, Bianca Williams, 26, a European and Commonwealth games gold medalist, and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, 25, a Portuguese track star, were driving home from training on Saturday afternoon in Maida Vale, a well-off neighborhood in West London, when they were stopped by the police. They were handcuffed for 45 minutes on the side of the road while the police searched the vehicle.

The London Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the vehicle was stopped because it was “being driven in a manner that raised suspicion,” but Ms. Williams accused the officers of racial profiling. She said that she and Mr. dos Santos were pulled over only because they were Black and driving an expensive Mercedes in a wealthy section of the city.

The police have apologized to Ms. Williams and Mr. dos Santos for causing distress but have denied wrongdoing, despite criticism that the encounter was the latest example of “stop and search” tactics disproportionately targeting Black people in Britain.


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