Ricardo Dos Santos: Black athlete ‘doesn’t feel safe’ while driving

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Ricardo Dos Santos says he is afraid to drive in London if images surface of him being racially profiled ‘again’ by the Metropolitan Police.

The Portuguese sprinter revealed that he always thinks ‘am I going to be stopped?’ following the news that ‘seven armed officers’ had arrested him in the early hours of Sunday morning.

After being stopped numerous times in the past, he said he sold his BMW and Mercedes and bought a Tesla “to be less noticeable” but added that it didn’t matter because “it’s not the car” .

The force has since referred to the Independent Bureau of Police Conduct, but Dos Santos is considering taking legal action.

Five Met officers are currently facing a serious misconduct investigation into allegations that they would racially profile Mr Dos Santos and his wife Bianca Williams, a sprinter for Team GB, in July 2020.

Officers said they “thought Mr. Dos Santos was using a phone while driving” during the weekend incident.

But he said he later “proved that his phone was between his thighs and he was just holding his fingers in front of his face.”

Police were called for assistance when the 27-year-old continued to drive 4.7 miles – saying he wanted to stop somewhere “safe and lit where he knew there would be people around”.

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Editorial use only Mandatory mention: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock (13095790r) Ricardo dos Santos 'Good Morning Britain' TV Show, London, UK - Aug 16, 2022

Ricardo Dos Santos said he is considering legal action against the Met (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Dos Santos said: ‘As I stopped, two officers came on either side of the car.

“An officer came knocking on the window and had the baton out, ready to break.

“The other officer was a lot calmer and wanted to talk to me. I said: ‘I will talk to you because you come as a human being.”

The runner went on to say that he’s “all for stopping and searching if there’s a reason for it.”

“But for a phone?” he asked. “Hold someone up for a phone and call seven cops?”

He confirmed that he has spoken to a lawyer and added: ‘We have thought about it’ [legal action] because it’s more of an intimidation now.

“It hasn’t happened once since 2020, this is now the second time I’ve stopped since 2020 and there have been several times before.”

Later in the interview, he said: “For me, I’m very careful about what I do and every time I see a police car late at night, I always think ‘shall I, or will I be stopped?’ It’s honestly very scary.

“It’s frustrating to be in a situation like that. I really thought “it’s done, it’s over for me. I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m not putting myself in a position where they can stop me.”’

Ricardo Dos Santos @RDSS400 After I stopped, two officers ran to either side of the car, a clenched fist slammed into my window and tried to open the car door.  Not knowing how to use a Tesla handle, he grabbed his baton in frustration, ready to break the glass.  2/3 11:20 ?  14 Aug 2022 from Paddington, London

An officer ‘had the baton, ready to break’, the athlete claimed (Image: Twitter/Ricardo Dos Santos)

Ricardo Dos Santos, a sprinter, published a series of tweets and video footage of him being detained and questioned by police on Saturday.  Credit: Twitter/Ricardo Dos Santos

It is not the first time the Met has faced accusations of racial profiling (Image: Twitter/Ricardo Dos Santos)

Dos Santos claimed on BBC Breakfast that the agents’ behavior changed when they realized he had a camera in his car, but he did not specify how.

He said he would like the police “to be aware of how people really feel” when conducting searches.

It comes after a Labor MP said ‘it’s like you can’t drive around in black’ after he was arrested in 2020.

Dawn Butler claimed there was “no other reason” why she was stopped by the Met while driving through East London “other than my skin color.”

Police were charged with racism again this year after images surfaced showing a black man being detained and searched “because he was wearing several layers of clothing despite the hot weather.”

Commenting on Mr Dos Santos’s case, a Met spokesperson said: “We have now registered this case as a public complaint.

“We have also voluntarily referred it to the Independent Behavioral Police Bureau, because we recognize the public interest.”

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

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